Why Every School Board, LEA, and Superintendent Should Support ALL OUT FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION on May 1st


What happened yesterday at Mark Johnson’s press conference to introduce ClassWallet and grant the “ability” for teachers to “spend” $400 each on supplies for the classroom should have made every school board, LEA, and superintendent who worries over local school system budgets cringe  a little more.

What Johnson and his controllers proposed was allowing almost 80% of the supplies budget that usually goes to districts to be spent by individual teachers. It took local control away under the guise of “empowering” individual teachers. And before Johnson wants to declare that transparency is key, then maybe he could explain how he got all of those iPads.

While his “supply” initiative might have a shiny, glossy veneer, every LEA in this state worried on a constant basis of how to finance the local school system. And what this NCGA has been doing is passing off the financial burdens more and more onto local school systems.

Think class size chaos. Think of the municipal charter school bill. And consider the fact that local supplements mean so much to LEA’s being able to recruit and keep teachers.

Local supplements come from the local school system. The state just uses the figures to make the average salary of teachers in NC look more impressive for spinning purposes.

Here are the five core issues as dictated by NCAE that are specifically being focused upon for the May 1st event. And each one of these issues directly affects how well local school systems can be of maximum benefit to their communities.

1. Provide enough school librarians, psychologists, social workers, counselors, nurses, and other health professionals to meet national professional-to-student standards;

Every superintendent can tell you what the ratio of media specialists, social workers, counsleors, etc. is in their schools. And those numbers are atrocious in every LEA that this blog has looked into around the state because local school systems cannot afford them. But funding these positions to meet national standards should not be a job for the local school systems; it should be the state’s.

2. Provide $15 minimum wage for all school personnel, 5% raise for all ESPs (non-certified staff), teachers, administrators, and a 5% cost of living adjustment for retirees;

Maybe the public should look into what it takes to actually outfit a school and keep a school system working. Bus drivers, aids, etc. are the glue that keeps schools together. Without at least a minimum of 15$ / hour wage, every local school system is having to spend time and money just to keep these positions filled.

And constant turnover costs money. For the local systems.

3. Expand Medicaid to improve the health of our students and families;

When 500,000+ people in the state of North Carolina could have health insurance if North Carolina simply expanded Medicaid as so many other states already have, then you are dealing with a legislative body that is not interested in helping many stay healthy.

Medicaid expansion would be a great step in combating the forces of poverty with which over a fifth of our public school students fight against every day.

Simply put:

  • Students who do not get the basics on a daily basis have a hard time achieving in school.
  • Students who cannot get health care have a hard time achieving in school.
  • Students who worry about loved ones who cannot afford healthcare have an extra burden upon their shoulders when they come to school.

4. Reinstate state retiree health benefits eliminated by the General Assembly in 2017;

Many school districts have severe teacher shortages. The NC State School Board just loosened requirements for out-of-state teachers to come into the state and get reciprocity.

There is a bill to help bring back veteran teachers to teach in Title I and high-poverty areas because they are hard to staff.

Our collegiate schools of education have much lower numbers of teacher candidates because fewer students want to become teachers.

Restoring these benefits for new hires might help alleviate those burdens as it would not only help recruit teachers but keep them until they retire as teachers.

5. Restore advanced degree compensation stripped by the General Assembly in 2013.

If the North Carolina General Assembly thought that abolishing the graduate degree pay increases for teachers is a good policy, then it needs to convince North Carolinians that our state does not need veteran teachers who are seasoned with experience. Teachers who seek graduate degrees in education (and/or National Certification) are themselves making a commitment to pursue careers in public education. When the state refuses to give pay bumps for graduate degrees, then the state just ensured that North Carolina will not have as many veteran, experienced teachers in our schools in the near future. Those teachers will not be able to afford to stay in the profession. Yet, we as a state cannot afford to lose them.

And it would be hard for every LEA to say they did not want veteran teachers.

When teachers go to march like they did last May and will do this May, they go on behalf of students, schools, other educators, communities, and for those who help lead our school systems.

That means in a very direct way teachers march for school boards, superintendents, and local officials.

Because the NCGA is not treating local systems the way they should.


One thought on “Why Every School Board, LEA, and Superintendent Should Support ALL OUT FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION on May 1st

  1. I am still telling you that your Wish List will not be forth coming until you get Tough with this NC Legislature. That means going out on a limb. Until Teachers stand up to this Legislature by refusing to work until the Teachers demands are met! Teachers will continue to receive the crumbs the Legislature gives them. The NC Legislature is betting you will not stand up to them. Chuck Edwards and Chuck McGrady make more money than you can ever imagine. I am on your side. Don’t think for a minute that your benefits and salaries are not a Political Issue. You must tell Teachers how to vote as Group. Teachers vote against themselves when they Vote Republican. Patricia Sheley


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