The topic of education has moved to the forefront of the political debate in North Carolina, a state seen as critical to GOP hopes of taking control of the Senate.
Earlier that day in Greensboro, Tillis recalled his first election as president of the PTA.
Talking about classroom standards, Tillis added, “I want solutions that come out of the teachers’ hearts and minds that are invented in the classroom, not a bureaucracy in Washington.”
Beyond the stump, state airwaves have been bombarded with ads on education in the Senate race.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee reserved $9.1 million in airtime for the Tar Heel race from August through Election Day — and so far, all of their spots have focused on education. In a recent ad, for example, the DSCC charged, “Tillis cut nearly $500 million from schools, froze teacher pay, keeping us near the bottom.”
Perhaps just as important are the details in and around the debate. If the GOP wants to make their case for improving education without ballooning budgets, NC may be the ideal place to start. But the debate will need to be won on their terms, otherwise, they’ll also be watering down an already somewhat weak smaller government brand, nationally. The GOP needs to make the case for more efficient education, not less or worse.
At her field office Wednesday evening, Hagan readily brings it up to supporters.
“In the state house, [Tillis] did the tax cuts, then he cut, cut, cut. What did he cut? He cut a half a billion dollars from our education system,” Hagan said. “You know in North Carolina, education has always been a sacred bipartisan priority.”
“We have a state toast in North Carolina: ‘Where the weak go strong, and the strong grow great,'” Hagan later told reporters. “I think everybody deserves the opportunity to grow both strong and great, and Speaker Tillis is shutting the door behind people on that opportunity.”