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Teacher Vivian Connell: Thom Tillis hurts North Carolina students

New state-wide television and digital ad buy puts education front and center in Senate race

WASHINGTON - September 05, 2014 -

Current teacher Vivian Connell isn’t shy about calling North Carolina Senate candidate Thom Tillis on the carpet for cutting education funding to the tune of $500 million in a new television ad. The spot, “Facts,” is a significant television and digital ad buy north of seven-figures that will air across 95 percent of the Tar Heel State starting September 5 through 12.

The North Carolina senate race is one of the most competitive races in the country and education is front and center.

“Some cuts never heal,” said NEA political director Karen White. “When school budgets are cut, kids pay the price. And the type of cuts that Thom Tillis made to education funding during his tenure as state House speaker hurt the most.

“I am proud of educators like Vivian Connell for speaking up for her students because she is having a hard time figuring how to do her job without the tools and resources needed,” said White. “The $500 million budget cut that Thom Tillis made goes so deep that there are not enough textbooks to go around. He even voted to increase class sizes. And educators are leaving the profession.”

“And that’s disappointing and misguided. North Carolina has a long and proud history of having one of the best public education systems in the nation, and is one of a few states that includes as part of its constitution that every child is entitled to a sound, basic public education.

“But over the past few years, public education in North Carolina has not been a priority for lawmakers like Thom Tillis who have failed to fully fund public schools and have not been committed to developing sustainable revenue to ensure that our students receive a quality education.

“Senator Kay Hagan has remained a steadfast champion of public education, students and educators since voters elected her to represent the Tar Heel State in Washington. With her continued leadership, North Carolina can and will reclaim its rightful place as an education powerhouse,” concluded White.

Ad script

My name is Vivian Connell and I’ve been in the classroom for twenty years.

I always want my students to start with facts and the fact is, Thom Tillis is terrible for education in North Carolina.

He cut five hundred million dollars from our budget.

His cuts go so deep, there are no longer enough textbooks to go around.

Tillis even voted to increase class sizes - so kids don't get the attention they need.

The fact is: Thom Tillis hurts North Carolina students.

The NEA Advocacy Fund, NEA’s independent expenditure PAC, paid for this ad and is responsible for its content.

View the television ad here.

Follow the conversation at @NEAMedia

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The National Education Association ( is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Miguel A. Gonzalez