FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 4, 2013
DURHAM - The North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP supports our state's teachers and the North Carolina Association of Teachers in their November 4, 2013 "walk in" protest. We applaud their dedication to their students and to our school systems. The patient and long-suffering goodwill of our public school teachers strikes the highest note yet heard in the state's broader civic conversation about public education.
The NC NAACP joins Republicans, Democrats and independents from Cherokee County to Currituck County who are trying to get the attention of the Tea Party extremist "super-majority" in the General Assembly to express support for our public schools and hardworking teachers. We even join with the editors of American Conservative magazine whose recent article entitled "How Raleigh's Republicans Forgot the Working Class," rightly explains that in North Carolina "the right to a K-12 education is enshrined in the state constitution and public education is broadly seen as a public good." Among other things, the editors recommended higher pay for the state's public school teachers.
Instead, Gov. McCrory and the extremists in the state legislature slashed the education budget so deeply that counties are being forced to fire thousands of teachers and teachers' aides. North Carolina is 50th of the fifty states in our rate of increase for teacher pay; we rank 46th in overall teacher pay, even though not so long ago we stood a respectable 21st. North Carolina's average teacher pay is roughly $10,000.00 below the national average. And yet six years of budget cuts and pay freezes leave our teachers out in the cold.
The General Assembly's extremist Tea Party "super-majority" plays Scrooge to our teachers even though their budget granted huge tax cuts to millionaires, billionaires and big corporations. In the recent budgetary attack on public education, they denied teachers any extra pay for getting advanced degrees and increased class size. And now veteran teachers will work on short term contracts and lose their "career status" rights to due process; in short, the skinflint ideologues in the legislature have done away with teacher tenure. And though they cite "job creation" as their reason to funnel our tax dollars to the super-rich, they do so without requiring anyone to create a single job. Meanwhile, our teachers work extra jobs at night to make ends meet.
While a "walk out" would certainly be understandable, the North Carolina State Conference of NAACP branches commends our public school teachers for their patient willingness to "walk in" to meet with parents and legislators. We applaud them and we stand with them in their efforts to make North Carolina's public schools live up to the hopes and dreams of its people.