“At” The Table or “On” the Menu: Once Again DPI Showing It Does Not Want To Listen To Teachers

Might want to read this one by Justin Parmenter on his blog Notes From the Chalkboard:

What Parmenter’s post reminds veteran teachers is that we can be either “at” the table or “on” the table.

For teachers in North Carolina, there are many other prepositions that could identify the relationship between the legislation process and teacher input such as “under” the table, “without” a place at the table, or not “behind” those closed doors.

As a veteran public school teacher, when I see entities like BEST NC or other “business-minded” reformers defending or lauding a piece of legislation or pushing an initiative like this merit pay proposal, I take it with a grain of salt.

Or an entire salt block.

Aside from the glowing generalities that sprinkle the rhetoric of many a reformer, too many of these “innovations” that have been created and enacted in North Carolina lack a crucial and vital component: teacher input.

Think of  those “new and pioneering solutions” that include the new teacher licensure and pay plan, the continuing rise of charter schools, the expansion of vouchers, the gutting and rebirth of a distant relative in the Teaching Fellows Program, and much more.

They all have one thing in common: no wide teacher input.

When the NC General Assembly went into GOP hands and McCrory came to the governor’s mansion, the process of “reforming” education began in earnest. There was the removal of due-process rights, the removal of graduate degree pay, push for merit pay, bonus pay, removal of longevity pay, removal of class size caps and then the recent hoaxes of indoctrination and the teaching of CRT.

The list goes on.

Were there any teachers involved in these reforms? Any teacher advocacy groups consulted? Any way a teacher could chime in other than a questionnaire that only one question on it that allowed for multiple answers from a prepared drop-down menu?

Those are not rhetorical questions. And considering that the current General Assembly seems bent upon diluting the voice of groups like NCAE, it should not be a stretch to realize that teachers are not consulted when it comes to schools.

There are a slew of bills dealing with teachers and public schools that will be debated this next long session that will probably have no real teacher input. And while many may have the veneer of goodwill, underneath they still may be hollow.

When education reformers try and push their agendas can they actually really claim that they have extended relationships with actual teachers and teacher groups?

At one time we as a state helped lead the South in educational innvation.

We sure did. We were considered one of the most progressive public education state systems in the southeast.

But that was before teachers were not allowed to be “at” the table any longer.

However, there are ways that the table ( and the menu) can be reclaimed.

One is to vote for pro-public education leaders who listen to teachers.

2 thoughts on ““At” The Table or “On” the Menu: Once Again DPI Showing It Does Not Want To Listen To Teachers

  1. Hello Stu,

    May I introduce myself?

    I am a retired German professor from a small Pennsylvania college, Susquehanna University. I live in Morehead City and am an active volunteer for the Democratic Party here, truly a Blue Dot in a deep red county.

    I am working with a few retired teachers on a project called “Teachers Vote Blue.” We have put together a fact sheet (I will attach it here), sent it with a thank-you letter to all of the Democrats who sponsored HBs 1080 and 1079, sent it to all NC House and Senate 2022 candidates, and also to all county chairs of the Democratic party in NC.

    We are also trying to get the word out directly to teachers. One retire is doing FB, I am doing Tiktok.

    As we did our research and reading, we “discovered “ you. I am so grateful to you for all of the work you are doing . I spent the whole afternoon reading your blog articles. Thank you so much! What a massive pile of information and insights. I will try to add to the blog myself.

    I am writing now to ask if you would mind if I mentioned you on Tiktok and use some of your materials, for example, the “Ironies,” which are excellent, and which will make funny/maddening videos. I thought it would be best to ask your permission before I use anything of yours.

    Please let me know. And, again, thank you for your efforts!


    Susan M. Schürer

    Professor Emerita of German

    Susquehanna University

    4905 Atlantic Drive

    Morehead City, NC 28557

    (570) 594-4984


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