In Greensboro, Hagan Hits Tillis on Education

In Greensboro, Hagan Hits Tillis on Education

6:52pm Aug 12, 2014
U.S. Sen Kay Hagan (D-NC) speaks during a press conference in Greensboro on Tuesday, August 12, 2014.
WFDD Photo by Paul Garber

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan was in Greensboro Tuesday, trying to draw a contrast between herself and the challenger for her Senate seat, State House Speaker Tom Tillis.

In a press conference at the city’s Democrat headquarters, Hagan attacked Tillis for remarks he made during the primary when he suggested eliminating the federal Department of Education. Hagan says such a move would result in larger class sizes, fewer teachers and less academic support for the state’s students.

"Eliminating the Department of Ed. is a fringe out-of-the-mainstream idea that runs against our common-sense North Carolina values," Hagan says.

Jordan Shaw, campaign manager for Tillis, says Hagan mischaracterizes Tillis’ comments.

"The fact is Tom Tillis has not called for eliminating the department of Education, but he does think we can reduce burdensome regulations that DC bureaucrats are heaping on our teachers and students," Shaw says.

Dawn Davis was among a small group of educators who joined Hagan Tuesday. She is a 12th grade English teacher at Southwest Guilford High School, about to enter her nineteenth year of teaching. She says she and her fellow educators watched as the legislature and Gov. Pat McCrory argued back and forth about such issues as teacher pay. She says it left them confused about what will happen in the classrooms and concerned about their futures.

With the new scaffolding of the salary plan a lot of teachers have more and more questions about ‘how long should I stay in this profession’ as opposed to ‘I’m excited to make this profession my calling,’" Davis says.

But Shaw contends that by making tough choices the legislature has ensured teachers will be better off.

"In light of the recent budget the budget we just past we will actually be 31st or 32nd in the nation in teacher pay. We’re going to be leading in the Southeast, and I think that’s a good first step," Shaw says.

The race is being closely watched nationwide as a key to Republican plans to flip the Senate. The first debate between Hagan and Tillis is scheduled for Sept. 3 in Raleigh.

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