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Teacher Vivian Connell: Ask your local teachers about Thom Tillis’ education budget cuts

Tough new television and digital ad buy keeps Tillis honest about his decisions

WASHINGTON - October 07, 2014 -

With less than a month before Election Day, North Carolina Republican Senate candidate Thom Tillis is desperately trying to hide from his education record. Teacher Vivian Connell isn’t letting him off the hook. In a tough new ad, she holds Tillis accountable for the decisions he made as Speaker of the House. And this time she’s not alone. In the ad, she urges voters to ask local educators about how the Tillis $500 million budget cut is hurting kids and schools.

The spot, “Ask a Teacher,” is a seven figure buy scheduled to run in all the media markets of North Carolina starting Oct. 7 through Oct. 13. The ad campaign involves a social media blitz that includes the Twitter hashtag #askateacher as well as paid ads on prominent websites like Facebook, urging educators and the public to share their stories about how the Tillis education budget cuts are affecting students and schools.

“Thom Tillis is trying to mislead North Carolina voters about his poor record education,” said NEA political director Karen White. “Teachers like Vivian Connell know firsthand the impact of Tillis’ decisions in their classrooms and schools every day. The truth is that 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. Just ask a teacher, or a bus driver, or a teacher assistant, or other essential school personnel.

“Thom Tillis’ $500 million budget cut hurt students and schools, led to larger class sizes, fewer art and athletic programs and slashed teaching positions,” said White. “Some cuts never heal, and educators across the state are out in full force working to remind the public who is responsible for those cuts.

“The road to economic security runs directly through public education. We need to invest in education now and prepare our children for the jobs of the 21st century. Instead of balancing the budget on the backs of students, we need our elected leaders to focus their efforts on rebuilding North Carolina’s economy in order to move the state forward,” concluded White.

Ad script

  There’s been a lot of misinformation about Thom Tillis’ record on education. 
  With twenty years in the classroom, I can tell you, Thom Tillis’ cuts are real to my students.
  In my district, we have larger class sizes.
  Art and athletic programs have been reduced.
  We’ve cut teaching positions and some of our best teachers have moved to other states.
  So if you want to know the truth about the impact of Tillis’ cuts to education, please, ask a local teacher.

The NEA Advocacy Fund, NEA’s independent expenditure PAC, paid for this ad and is responsible for its content. This is the second in a series of television ad buys in the Tar Heel State made by NEA. The first one was called “Facts.”

To view the television ad, please click here or visit here

Follow the conversation at @NEAMedia and #Askateacher

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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  (202) 822-7823,