Why We Need To Allow Teachers To Get Into “Good, Necessary Trouble”

This morning my friend Justin Parmenter, whose advocacy of public education here in North Carolina is unmatched, published a post on his blog Notes From the Chalkboard that discusses his views on events that have happened this week concerning investigating Mark Johnson’s actions in awarding a contract under secretive circumstances.

Justin was one of three people to receive a rather bullying Cease & Desist letter from iStation’s legal representatives. He was the only classroom teacher to receive one. And he talks about that in his post. It is candid, classy, and full of integrity.

And the post reminded me and others of what great teachers really do:

  • explore and lend light to the details,
  • ask great questions that spark discovery and discourse, AND
  • do not mind getting into “good, necessary trouble” if needed when advocating for public education, especially in the public’s eye.

Justin started his post with a quote from Rep. John Lewis.

goodtrouble

It’s the “never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble” part that really comes out in that quote.

If there is one thing that scares people like Mark Johnson, Phil Berger, and Tim Moore (and other NCGA lawmakers), it is a veteran teacher who is willing to get in to “good, necessary trouble.”

And this state needs teachers who are willing to get into “good, necessary trouble.”

That’s why when reading Justin’s post (and I read all of his posts), I thought of this state’s need to restore “career status” and due-process rights to all teachers in this state.

Their removal was a beginning step in a patient, scripted, and ALEC-allying plan that still systematically tries to weaken a profession whose foundation is advocating for public schools. Think of what is happening with the situation at DPI where a unilateral decision was made in spite of the recommendation from a viable committee.

Due-process removal actually weakens the ability of the teaching force in NC to speak up and advocate a little each year as veteran teachers retire and are replaced by new teachers who do not receive those rights.

One of the first items that the GOP controlled General Assembly attempted to pass in the early part of this decade was the removal of due-process right for all teachers. Commonly called “tenure,” due process rights are erroneously linked to the practice that colleges use to award “tenure” to professors. Actually, they really are not the same.

What due-process means is that a teacher has the right to appeal and defend himself / herself when an administrator or system seeks to terminate employment. It means that a teacher cannot be fired on the spot for something that is not considered an egregious offense by those who simply want to get rid of someone because he / she was advocating for schools.

If due-process rights are not restored for newer teachers, then the idea of having a rally or a march like that one on May 16th of 2018 or May 1st of this year to advocate for students and schools ten to fifteen years from now would likely never happen.

If due-process rights are not restored for newer teachers, then there may be fewer teachers willing to get into “good, necessary trouble.”

And this state needs teachers who are willing to get into “good, necessary trouble.”

 

One thought on “Why We Need To Allow Teachers To Get Into “Good, Necessary Trouble”

  1. I couldn’t agree more! When NCAE asked me to serve as a plaintiff on the Career Status case, I was terrified…but I felt I couldn’t keep training Teacher Cadets if I wasn’t ready to fight. I received 84 emails to my personal email within 24hrs of the plaintiff list being published – many were NOT nice. My EVAAS was hacked. My WSFCS email has hacked. BUT – Rodney Ellis and Mark Jewell stood right beside me all the way to the NC Supreme Court appeals process. Those of us grandfathered with our Career Status need to STAND UP! SPEAK OUT! Help the new, unprotected ones by fighting for them to have the same rights we have.

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