Education in North Carolina expected to play key role heading into November election

Tom George Image
Tuesday, April 23, 2024
Education to play key role in NC November election
The race for the White House runs through North Carolina, and as the Biden and Trump campaigns craft their messages, education is taking center stage.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The race for the White House runs through North Carolina, and as the Biden and Trump campaigns craft their messages, education is taking center stage.

At the Biden campaign's North Carolina headquarters in downtown Raleigh, educators and lawmakers making it clear.. the fight for funding in the classroom will be on the ballot.

They launched "Educators for Biden" at an event this morning.

"The stakes of this Election are high for our schools and our teachers, and we're ready to stand with them and fight for them and that's why we're here supporting President Biden," says Sen. Natalie Murdock (D-Durham).

From teacher pay to support for public schools, they're also hoping to draw a contrast with former President Donald Trump.

"The attack on teachers, the inability to provide funding we need for our public schools, it becomes about these culture wars where really, really Donald Trump is at the top of all of that," Murdock says.

Meanwhile, the Trump campaign also believe education is a winning issue.

"This is a huge issue for parents all across the nation. For them to have more of a say in their kids education," says Trump surrogate Corey DeAngelis with the American Federation of Children.

DeAngelis says he sees private school vouchers which have been supported by North Carolina's GOP-led legislature and school choice as an issue driving support for Republicans.

"The latest Real Clear Opinion Research polling on the subject finds 71% of Americans support the concept of school choice. And at the end of the day, the money doesn't belong to the schools, whether they're public or private. The money is meant for educating the children, not for propping up and protecting a particular institution. So with a school choice initiative, you can still choose the public school," he says.

But education might be creating more attention down ballot. One political expert believes the views of Mark Robinson for Governor and Michele Morrow for state superintendent which have generated headlines and could create interest down ballot.

"Normally the "reverse coattails" would not exist. But this year is such an unusual year in North Carolina because of those two candidates and their stances on education. I think it's got a lot of North Carolinians concerned about the future of public education in the state," says David McLennan, professor of political science at Meredith College.

He says in North Carolina, the race for our state's 16 Electoral votes for President could be decided from the bottom up.

"If people come out in record numbers for the superintendents race and for the governor's race, even though Joe Biden isn't very popular in the state, that could be enough to make him extremely competitive, not win over Donald Trump in North Carolina," McLennan says.