Teachers in North Carolina are pissed. Not just members of the North Carolina Association of Educators but the rank and file who go to work, do their jobs and then are under-appreciated and under-compensated. Now, they watch as the Governor and legislature defend giving unqualified political appointees huge raises while schools are told to suffer.
Republican legislators want to equate all teachers with NCAE, but that’s like saying every Republican is a member of the Tea Party. Most teachers are hard-working members of our communities who had certain expectations about their careers that were derailed by this session of the General Assembly. But the GOP is giving NCAE a great recruitment tool.
The Republicans say they’re fixing our education system. However, there’s very little evidence it was broken. Since the Hunt reforms, our test scores have gone up, our drop out rate has gone down and every year we’re setting records for graduation rates. A large part of those reforms was moving teacher salaries to the national average.
However, there was plenty in government that needed fixing. In particular, they could have gotten rid of a lot of political cronyism. Instead, the GOP gave Pat McCrory more than a thousand additional patronage positions. We see what he’s doing with them–hiring unqualified workers and overpaying them.
Salary-gate won’t die and it’s the teachers that are driving it. They were scapegoats during the legislative session and now they feel disrespected by the Governor. The problem for Republicans is that everyone knows and respects teachers, particularly in small towns and rural areas. At election time, those folks are more likely to trust a teacher than a politician.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >