The North Carolina Associate of Educators (NCAE), a state affiliate of the national teacher’s union (NEA), is surveying its membership of school employees to determine how many days they are willing to miss work (strike) to pressure the legislature to increase teacher pay and increase Medicaid funding. The survey is being administered by the NCAE’s 2020 Racial and Social Justice Caucus.

The efforts to promote a strike of North Carolina teachers and school employees is more evidence that the state’s public education system has become a key player in political gamesmanship- a sad reflection on how little value certain education professionals and political leaders put on education. It’s more about promoting a political agenda based on money and influence and less about education.

Mark Jewell, NCAE president, seeking to justify the survey, stated, “Educators are understandably frustrated by the decade of disrespect and marginalization they have received from lawmakers, and we will consider all that is necessary to make a positive impact for public schools and all of those who serve in them.”

Mr. Jewell’s argument fails to acknowledge that in just the past five years, N.C. teachers have received a combined cumulative 23.6 per cent pay raise. This year alone the legislature attempted to provide a 3.9 per cent raise over a two-year period, but was stymied by Governor Cooper’s veto. The Governor wanted to expand Medicaid and add a five per cent raise for teachers without a serious consideration of the impact on the taxpayers.

The NCAE president further misses the mark because the survey promotes the idea of breaking a state law that prohibits strikes by teachers and public employees. And should teachers and school employees initiate a strike it will result in charges of a Class One misdemeanor and potential job loss.

Why then would an educational and political leader want to force the hand of the legislature knowing that pay raises are waiting should the Governor rescind his veto, and in the process jeopardize the job opportunities for the very people the organization is seeking to support?  The answer is simple- it’s about political change in legislative leadership, not about students, teachers and the education system.

Mr. Jewell and the NCAE are doing the bidding of the Governor and Democrat leaders in trying to find martyrs who can be used for political messages.  The effort has nothing to do with education - it’s purely politics, but unfortunately for the NCAE it will fail.

The facts don’t support the arguments but additionally, the number of union members no long support the threat. According to a recent NC Civitas report, membership in the NCAE declined 6 per cent the previous two years to just 28,725 members. This is part of a growing nationwide trend of declining teacher union membership across the country.

There is another political calculus that needs to be considered and that is the growing frustration that parents and taxpayers are experiencing with the education environment. Across the state educational alternatives are being considered by parents and children, such as public charter schools, private schools and homeschooling. Parents and communities are quickly assessing the value of the public education system and are finding very viable and successful alternatives.

If Mr. Jewell and the NCAE prefer political action over education as the current survey indicates then public schools will suffer as parents pursue other options.

(10) comments

David Collins

Pretty simple , just fire any strikers . They are not doing what they are getting paid to do so what have you lost ? The rest will get the message , loud and clear . This is not fun and games , it is serious business . At least it is supposed to be . Any that lose their jobs will not be missed . Good riddance to bad rubbish . Bunch of spoiled brats .

Big Don

BE PREPARED TO LOOSE YOUR JOB,BECAUSE THEY WILL FIRE YOU.THEY WILL BRING OUTSIE PEOPLE IN THAT ARE JUST WAITING TO TAKE YOUR JOB.YOU DESERVE MORE COMPENSATION,BUT STRIKING IS NOT THE ANSWER.

David Collins

Good advice , Don . NC teachers are prohibited from striking by law . Fastest way I know of to become a former state employee with benefits and all that stuff . The students will be the losers . We don’t need any more losers . The Governor you elected is the villain on this issue . Elections have consequences, I have been told .

Big Fat Drunk Republican

Sure, we should punish teachers for wanting better pay and resources. I mean, I mean who needs college educated teachers anyway?

I say we find good solid teachers like our herder in chief Trump(Amen) did for Trump University.

It’s about time we count Sunday school at church as school.

You guys are right, just fire them. Who needs them?

dc

Bring on the unions & the strikes. We need to look just like the union states & cities. Then, you'll get less education for more $. Can"t beat that with a stick can you? Spare us your brilliance Leftist socialists!

David Collins

If the NCAE “ teachers union “ wants to know how many days pay it’s members are willing to give up in order to strike , that translates into a pay cut . Yup , willing to work for less . If you are willing to work for less then obviously a pay raise is not necessary and certainly not important . Sooooo , might want to tread carefully here. Don’t be a pawn in this political chess game . Never lose sight of your retirement benefits and that matters . That day will come at you faster than you think . I know , am living it and it is good . Making a political point pays no bills , buys no food and clothing , nor keeps a roof over one’s head . After all, you did sign a contract . Did you not ?

Perspective

Most of us DO our jobs, and do them well. Most of us LOVE our jobs and above all, our students. We welcome the sense of responsibility that is inherent in our chosen careers. The media chooses to focus on salaries, which honestly is NOT the pressing issue. The abusive testing that results in elementary school children throwing up every day from stress, the increasingly government-mandated curricula and forced methods that take away a teacher's educational gifts, the fact that our legislature attacks our profession at every possible turn with these policies, but can't be held accountable for doing THEIR job... THESE are the pressing issues. Salary is secondary. There has never been a teacher who chose the profession to get rich. We love our students. We love our subject-matter. We WANT and NEED to be trusted to do great things for the children we teach. But we are increasingly vilified, disrespected, and blamed. And then when anyone tries to take a stand - for our children FAR more than for our wallets - those in power and those within most media start shouting about money. It's a great way to hide the real issues and continue to undermine public confidence in what we do. And, if we're really going to be honest, it keeps many parents from feeling the need to step up and speak out in defense of and advocating for what's happening to their children, not because of their teachers, but because of a policy-making mechanism that cares nothing for nurturing educational growth and success in our young people, and everything for feeding itself at the expense of those it exists to serve.

And before anyone even says it, yes, of course there are teachers who have no business in the classroom for any number of valid, compelling reasons. They should be made to leave. That is equally true in every profession. But no number of standardized tests will ever identify those professionals. They do, however, make it very easy for people to "measure" whatever it is they want the statistics to support.

David Collins

Very good post , Perspective . Agree that the problems originate from The Pink Palace on North Wilmington St. , Raleigh . One of the deepest quagmires in the N. C. Governmental swamp . Politics and political correctness running amuck .

dc

LBJ's War On Poverty created the ESEA to do what? Did it? GWB & Ted Kennedy's NCLB reauthorized ESEA to do what? Has it? BO's ESSA reauthorized it again to do what? Has it? Carter's DOE has done what? Lofty goals & massive spending & has accomplished what?

gw

Some of you making these ignorant comments have no clue as to what you are talking about. You probably have not spent 5 minutes in a class room since you were in school. Instead of spouting anti-liberal conspiracy theories do some research on the actual issues. Go monitor a classroom or talk to an actual teacher. Teachers need to value your own futures as well as your ideals. Your union and state may not be there for you.

Welcome to the discussion.

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