Below is a list of the five core issues brought into the public discourse for the “All Out For May 1st” Public Education Rally and March last year. Thousands of people showed up to advocate for these issues.
Below is what Mark Johnson, the top public education official in the state, said in regard to those five issues:
Below is what the leadership in the NC General Assembly did to address those issues:
An intentional budget stalemate and a purposeful ignorance of these issues.
Oddly enough, Mark Johnson has not said anything about the current state health emergency that is significantly affecting our schools. Maybe he is still fighting the Deep State or trying to eliminate Common Core or still licking his wounds from badly losing his primary after using his office to promote his campaign.
Phil Berger and Tim Moore have not come out to show their “stellar leadership” in this crisis. They have been too busy making sure that public schools this year have to operate with last year’s budget numbers minus non-recurring funds.
But this recent coronavirus outbreak is bringing to the forefront four of those five issues and the seriousness they truly present.
- “$15 Minimum Wage for all school personnel, 5% raise for all school workers, and a 5% Cost of Living Adjustment for retirees.” When schools start to shut down, many school personnel such as bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers, etc. will not have “hours” to work as facilities will be shut down. An increase in their wages would have allowed them to at least have a better chance of saving money to help combat this period of uncertainty. Also, they have families to help take care of and maybe medical expenses.
- “Provide enough Library Media Coordinators, School Psychologists, School Social Workers, Professional School Counselors, School Nurse, and other health professionals to meet national standards.” Until now, most schools in North Carolina had a part-time nurse on select days on campus. This current crises has shown the absolute need to have medical professionals provided in every way possible. The school where I work is the largest outside of Wake and Mecklenburg Counties, and we have one nurse for a half-day per week. And we live in a town where the medical industry is the largest employer in the county.
- “Expand Medicaid to improve the health of our students and families.” From the Durham Association of Educators – “500,000 North Carolinians would benefit from Medicaid expansion with 208,000 North Carolinians with NO realistic access to health care insurance without Medicaid expansion.”
- “Reinstate State Retiree health benefits eliminated by the General Assembly in 2017.” Imagine if this had happened back when many of us veterans had started teaching in North Carolina. Coronavirus is especially vicious to people over 60 years of age, a time where many teachers have put in over 30 years and are condiering retirement – especially considering how the NCGA has treated veteran teachers.