Candidates for Governor spar over education - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

10.5.04

Candidates for Governor spar over education

Education was the focus of a debate Monday between the Democratic candidate, Governor Mike Easley, and his challenger, Republican candidate Patrick Ballantine.

Ballantine says Governor Easley has not made education a priority, saying the democrat has cut funding for education during his administration.

Governor Easley says Ballantine, the former Republican State Senator from Wilmington, is wrong on many education issues and hasn't come up with a plan to pay for his promises.

Easley says an education lottery would be the way to go. Ballantine calls that idea "fraudulent," saying it would only pay one percent of annual expenses.

The two also clashed over test scores. Ballantine called the state's testing system a disgrace.

" We're not producing the real numbers. The national number show we're about 32 to 33 percent proficient in math and reading. The governor's administration says we're at 81 or 82 percent - that's not the reality," said Ballantine.

"We for the first time led the nation in math, and we only had six ahead of us in reading, only three ahead of us in writing. We are no where near the bottom anymore, Mr. Ballantine," Governor Easley fired back. "We've made so much progress. You need to do your homework if you're going to talk about education!"

After almost having no debates at all, the two will now hold two debates. Monday's debate in Cary was the first and the second will be on October 15th in Raleigh.

You can watch Monday's debate in its entirety on WECT News 6 Saturday at 7:00 pm and again at 1:00 am, following Saturday Night Live.

Reported by Samuel King

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