In 2013, the NC General Assembly took away graduate degree pay raises for new teacher hires.
Pat McCrory was the governor of NC at that time.
Candidate for the office of state superintendent Catherine Truitt was for a time a senior education advisor for then Gov. McCrory.
Apparently her ideas on how to “improve” education aligned with his.
Now Truitt is the chancellor of Western Governor’s University of North Carolina, an online university that offers teacher licensure without ever going to a physical classroom for classes before a student teaching experience.
For current teachers, a graduate degree or endorsement can help you specialize your career and may qualify you for a salary increase or lane change.
May qualify you for a salary increase?
Wait. North Carolina does not do that anymore for teachers.
So, Mrs. Truitt. Are you in favor of restoring graduate degree pay raises for teachers in North Carolina and why are you allowing for WGU to promote a master’s degree in education as a means of obtaining a salary increase?
Yes. It was offensive of her to use the word “retarded.” It was meant to be derogatory and demeaning in the context in which it was said. She is a school board member and that should not be used by a school board member in any capacity given that she has been elected to represent all school children no matter the obstacles some may face.
And she was elected to do this job which menas she wanted to be in this position.
Furthermore, there is an unprecedented pandemic going on that requires leaders to be even more like… leaders.
Petitions to remove her and open calls for her resignation have been plentiful and they are right to be made.
As a veteran teacher in public high schools, this would offend me as a professional. As a parent of public school students, this offends me.
And as a parent of a child with an extra chromosome and intellectual/developmental delays who has been called “retarded” and knows the intentions of the word, I am more than offended.
But it was her apology that really angers me. Why? Because it seemed more like an explanation of why she said it that drifted off into an explanation of victimhood.
“I want to take this opportunity to address the very unfortunate incident that took place at last night’s school board meeting. During one of the breaks, my microphone remained on and comments that were made in private suddenly became very public. Whether in private or public, I acknowledge my comments were insensitive and inappropriate.
“I allowed my immense passion for the welfare of our children and for serving this community to manifest itself through emotion and frustration. Although I never intended to offend anyone, I do realize that my words had the potential to cause pain and reinforce a negative stereotype. I deeply regret my choice of words and I sincerely apologize to anyone that I may have offended.
“The last 12 hours have been some of the most difficult of my life. I have received messages that have both questioned my integrity and my character.
“However, not to be overshadowed by hatred and political posturing, has been an overwhelming amount of loving support from so many of you that know my heart and believe in the work that we are trying to accomplish together. Because of each of you, tomorrow morning I will dust myself off and get right back to serving this community, our students, our amazing faculty and staff members and this country with the same level of passion as I had on Day 1.”
It reads more like she said, “I want to address something that was said” rather than “address a direct action on my part.”
“Comments” were not “made.” She actively shared her thoughts.
“I allowed my immense passion for the welfare of our children and for serving this community to manifest itself through emotion and frustration.” What???? That reads more like “I so love these kids no matter their obstacles that my passion made me say something like this in a moment of time when I thought no one else could hear me.”
She didn’t blurt out these words. She saved them to be said in an arena she thought she could control. That’s not passion. That’s “I have used these words before, but made sure that they were not said in public because I know how people take it.”
“The last 12 hours of my life have been some of the most difficult of my life.” Imagine being in this pandemic without a job and a dealing with a government that refuses to offer more help.
“Overshadowed by hatred and political posturing?” Mrs. Blackwell forgets that her “insensitive and inappropriate” words certainly were not said out of love and in fact were in response to political actions taken by the state.
In 23 years of teaching high school English in two states and three large schools, I would say that I have heard the gambit of offensive language that comes from the mouths of teenagers. Inappropriate words can be said flippantly or directly in response to a lot of actions or things said.
But, it really has been a while since I have heard a teenager use the word “retarded” within my ear shot. Yes, most students I come into contact with know I have a son with Down Syndrome, but those same students have mostly discarded using that word as they see its power and its effects.
It says a lot when the only time in recent memory that I have heard with my own ears that word used as a derogatory term comes from a school board member during a public meeting who professes a “high level of passion” for public service as part of an election platform.
The bill would explicitly state that allowing transgender girls and women to compete with their gender in school sports violates Title IX’s ban on discrimination on the basis of sex in schools, which is the legal theory the Trump administration is already using to threaten funding for school districts.
Loeffler’s bill, which says nothing about transgender boys competing in boys’ and men’s sports, says that “sex shall be recognized based solely on a person’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth” in girls’ and women’s sports.
But it is a little vague:
While Loeffler’s bill does not explain exactly how schools will determine an athlete’s gender, it defines eligibility for sports in terms of reproductive organs and chromosomes suggests that it may lead to similar examinations as the Idaho bill.
With the bill’s wording vague and federal funding on the line, schools could opt to require genital exams for all female athletes to prove they aren’t transgender.
This one billboard says a lot about our current state of polarization.
And it communicates some very
Schools are not closed.
School buildings are closed and campuses shut down for convening physical classes.
But “school” is going on.
2. Teachers do not want to always stay in Plan C.
Teachers want school buildings open. They want to see students as much as parents want to send them to school campuses.
They just want them to be safely opened.
This push to go straight to Plan A when schools are not even outfitted for safety with minimal amounts of PPE and other resources for various versions of Plan B.
To equate that teachers wanting schools opened safely and with plans that include teacher and site administrator input with “teachers don’t want schools opened” is erroneous.
3. A higher percentage of teachers are also parents than parents are teachers in public schools.
More teachers can empathize with what many parents are experiencing during the pandemic as far as remote instruction is concerned than the converse. When teachers speak about opening school buildings, MANY of them are speaking as parents as well.
4. If this state is going to push STEM related subjects, it would help if the lawmakers and policy makers who craft the testing mandates and curriculum standards actually believe and listen to science.
Talking to you Dan Forest.
And those people who keep having the CDC change its protocols and information.
5. A hybrid plan (B) many times creates much more work for teachers.
This is especially true if teachers are to give both in-class students and students in remote situations synchronous learning. Think of it as teaching the same numbers of classes virtually as you would in-person.
Without more time and energy and support to do so.
6. To say that learning has not occurred is ludicrous.
Some brilliant teaching has been going on these past few weeks (and last spring). But if someone wants to argue about “measuring” that learning with standardized tests, then they would need to convince a lot of people that those tests were actually accurately measuring student learning when there was no pandemic.
7. This situation is being exacerbated by the fact that it is a BIG ELECTION YEAR.
Public schools and education have always been a hot-button political topic. So has COVID-19.
Just put them together.
Dan Forest has. And he doesn’t even send his school aged-kids to actual schools when there is not a pandemic.
Yesterday both Jen Mangrum and Catherine Truitt provided insights to the editorial board of the News & Observer during an interview for each.
Below are two tweets from the education reporter for the N&O.
She threw Mark Johnson under the bus. Said he was not the person for the job.
She also was the person who stood on stage with Phil Berger last week to call for reopening schools fully. Phil Berger made sure that Mark Johnson was the most powerful state superintendent ever in NC’s history.
Catherine Truitt is aligning herself with Phil Berger. Either she needs to call Johnson a political puppet and the position he fulfilled one that was for Berger to exploit or…
Catherine Truitt needs to show how she would not be controlled by Berger.
Lost in the sadistic irony of Phil Berger, Dan Forest, and Catherine Truitt’s “argument” to fully open schools this fall amidst the COVID-19 pandemic is that there has been talk of placing a bond referendum on the ballot in 2020 for school construction.
“Education is what matters most to families and businesses — to the private and public sectors alike — and North Carolina is poised to build on historic commitments to our schools with another long-term investment in capital construction for our rapidly growing student population,” Moore said in a press release.
The rich irony of Moore’s initial statement above deserves its own book, but it acknowledges something brought out by Gov. Cooper’s spokesperson later in the report.
Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper previously proposed a similar education bond and also supports this push, spokesman Ford Porter said Thursday.
“A school bond could relieve crowded, aging schools and ensure students across North Carolina get a quality education and opportunities to succeed,” Porter said in an email.
Aging buildings. Overcrowded schools.
Berger, Truitt, and Forest want to send all students back into those same aging buildings and overcrowded schools.
Have you ever walked through a school and wondered if every room had a window(s) that could help circulate fresh air when needed? I have taught in rooms that had no windows at all. Some classrooms I have taught in had only one which makes hard to circulate air.
(And it’s about to get cooler outside. Flu season is also approaching.)
Then walk through a school and just check the HVAC system and its ventilation patterns. As a teacher, I have never had the power to control the thermostat or the fan settings of my classroom. I’ve had to call in a request for an alteration to be performed at a central location.
And I am not sure if it is fresh air that is coming through my vents when the system does turn on in my room.
But those things do not apply to teachers. There really is no market for teachers outside of public schools that is sizable enough to compare, so the state gets to treat teachers differently. And they have.
When the market looks at advanced degrees and training as worthy of pay raises or increases in compensation, then the state would have to look at how it can “recuit” and “retain.”
But in the case of teachers, they took away graduate degree pay bumps.
To go along with no more longevity pay.
And that $15/hour minimum wage for classified school employees.
Imagine what that does for recruitment and retention.