Rep. Tim Moore Is REALLY Scared Of Public School Teachers

moorethinskin

Nothing like having your own spokesperson who can deliver your “spun” take on a situation in such a way that it shields you from actually having to answer real questions and confront true criticism.

I would expect nothing “moore” from a man who hides behind constructed machinations the likes of which are not seen in any other state. He is a man who is only enabled by the unconstitutional supports of prejudiced policies.

That’s how weak he really is on his own.

He attacks NCAE and it’s “limited” membership in a state that makes collectivebargaining for state employees illegal. The ban itself was established in the Jim Crow-era. It literally is the last holdover as far as those laws are concerned. And NC is one of seven states that makes collective bargaining illegal.

Image result for map of states with collective bargaining rights 2018

Eleven allow for them to be used. 32 require them to be used.

That’s right. NC is one of seven states that bans collective bargaining rights. And Tim Moore is attacking NCAE? That’s fear.

And that “represents 5% of teachers” part? That’s Moore’s way of trying to pit teachers against teachers. But it’s more than teachers. It’s about students and public schools. It’s about communities.  Besides, this looks like more than 5% of teachers:

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It’s also funny to consider that Moore is enabled by some of the most extreme gerrymandering in the country because of how district lines were drawn based on racial disparities. Repeatedly.

Image result for north carolina racial gerrymandering maps 2019 general assembly

Moore “legislates” and condemns pro-public education groups openly, but stigmatizes the state’s public schools with the most egregious school performance grading system in the country.

16 states

Moore screams about opposition to a Voter ID law that was passed before it was completely written and then stopped by the courts until further litigation is done.

He screams about people wanting to expand Medicaid in a state whose citizens overwhelmingly support its expansion all while several other red states are expanding it.

He screams “expanding” federal entitlements when he is in a state that has the lowest corporate tax rates in the country.

Image result for lowest state corporate tax rates 2019

This is all coming from a guy who helps craft secret ALEC-inspired legislation through special sessions and passive-aggressive measures.

And he can’t even pass a budget.

So, the only thing Tim Moore can do is try to pit teachers against teachers. But he’s been doing that for years.

Because he’s scared of teachers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Finished The Fall Semester Over A Month After The Winter Solstice

And my school system did not lose a day because of weather or any unforeseen event.

The fall semester ended on the day it was supposed to according to the school system’s calendar, but it’s this calendar that needs to end.

Calendar flexibility is an issue that received much more attention in this last couple of school years – and for good reasons.

By 2017, North Carolina was one of only one of 14 states that had state laws that governed school calendars. The graphic below is from the Feb. 2017 Final Report to the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee on school calendars.

school calendar

What is also shows is that North Carolina was at the time one of the TWO states in the entire country whose laws dictated when a school could start and when it had to end.

200 bills have been introduced in the NCGA in the last few years and none have made it past committee in a legislature that had a super-majority  in six years of the last seven years because of opposition from another industry.

This teacher has no problem in going with the family to the beach in May instead of August, but he does have a problem with starting school after two football games have been played and fall sport athletes have already been in season for almost a month.

This state should get rid of its school calendar laws and allow each system to set up it’s own schedule rather than having systems use various loopholes as a premise to do what it feels is best for its students.

Something tells me that LEAs could come up with a viable yet flexible school calendar that serves students rather than a lawmaking body that can’t even come up with a budget even when it spends an extra 100+ days in “session.”

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Johnson’s Recent Interview With WLOS – Translated

This past week WLOS out of Asheville interviewed Mark Johnsonon the recent attempt to pass a budget in North Carolina therefore leaving teacher raises in doubt. Take a listen if you can.

markjohnsonwlos

State School Superintendent Mark Johnson recently spoke to News 13 about the budget and recent protests surrounding it.

Johnson said he wants to assure teachers that the state is working to raise wages for them. However, Johnson said he does not agree with the walk-outs.

“We were in the 40’s national ranking for teacher pay,” Johnson said. “We’re now all the way up to 29 in just my time in my office. We’re second in the south. We’re making progress, but walking out of school and not having that instructional time for students, that’s just not something that I can support.”

What Johnson really said was “I will not rally with teachers for the sake of public schools” and “I am going to claim that we now 29th in the nation in teacher pay, but cannot for the life of me explain how our current salary plan could even maintain that.”

Concerning his words about teacher walkouts – lost instructional time can always be made up if Johnson ever fought for more calendar flexibility. Just ask those people who did not get back days of instruction due to hurricanes. Seemed the testing calendar was more important.

In fact, Johnson has rallied more for the school choice movement than for traditional public schools. He even took a school day and spoke at an annual school choice convention.

And his words about teacher pay?  The operative word here is “average.” What he purposefully fails to tell you is that most of the raises have occurred at the very low rungs of the salary schedule. Of course, you can raise the salary of first year teachers by a few thousand dollars and it would give them an average raise of maybe 10-15%. You would only have to give veteran teachers a very small raise funded by longevity pay (which we no longer get) and the OVERALL average raise still looks good, and not much money has to be invested.

The last eight years have seen tremendous changes to teacher pay. For new teachers entering in the profession here in NC there is no longer any graduate degree pay bump, no more longevity pay (for anyone), and a changed salary schedule that only makes it possible for a teacher to top out on the salary schedule with at a little over 53K per year.

So how can that be the average pay in NC be over 53K when no one can really make much over 53K as a new teacher in his/her entire career unless they all become nationally certified (which takes a monetary investment by the teacher to start)?

Easy. North Carolina is counting all of the veteran teachers’ current salaries in that figure. The very people whose salaries simply disgusted the former governor and the General Assembly to the point that they had to take measures to “lower” them are actually being used to tout this new wonderful “average.” And make no mistake, veteran teachers scare the hell out of Mark Johnson.

Furthermore, this average is counting on local supplements. This comes in the face of budgets that are allocating insufficient funds to each central office of each school system for administrative costs while increasing state mandates. Now each county has to raise more money to actually offset those costs and also allow for local supplements. And not all localities provide the same supplements.

Johnson is just resting his rubber-stamping self on a baseless platitude and giving himself credit for it. Remember this is the same guy who once said:

johnson salary

 

 

 

 

 

What If I Ran My Classroom Like Berger & Moore Ran The NCGA?

An empty classroom.SenateFullViewWhat if I were to extend the school year for another 100+ days beyond the already allotted time frame and when students got to class, called for an unsupervised study hall day after day because I refused to enact a lesson plan? Imagine all of the school buildings needing to be kept open, the meals that needed to be prepared and served, and the buses that had to ran routes to bring students to schools.

Those cost money, but Berger and Moore had no problem spending tax payer money to keep the NCGA in session just to maybe create a favorable situation to override a budget veto.

What if I were to call only certain students to an early morning study session and neglect to invite other students just so that I could let them see the actual test before I gave that assessment later in class? 

That sounds like what happened on Sept. 11th when Tim Moore called for a vote to override Gov. Cooper’s veto when conditions were manipulated to allow only Moore’s cronies to be present and have enough of a GOP majority for a favorable outcome without regard for those who were not in the room.

What if I kept telling students that there would be a test on a certain day in which they had to prepare long and hard for but kept cancelling it at the last minute only to reschedule it for the next day and cancelling again? What if I called for a test to be given and showed up to class an hour late as if nothing was wrong? ALL BECAUSE TOO MANY OF MY STUDENTS SHOWED UP FOR CLASS.

That sounds like what happened every time a veto-override was scheduled for the NCGA Senate chamber but never happened because all of the 21 Democrats were present.

What if I made sure that only certain students were seated in a place where they could not only access the board and computer stations but could clearly hear the teacher’s words while making sure others were in a place in the room that had bad lighting, broken desks, and away from other resources? And I still expected all students to perform well?

That sounds like gerrymandering.

What if I could simply choose students to be in my class I know could pass the standardize tests that measure my “effectiveness” and make sure that other students who might need more attention are concentrated in classes in other buildings – maybe even trailers? 

That sounds like gerrymandering again.

What if there were some students in my class who needed medical attention for a malady or injury that just happened but I only allowed half of them to go to the school nurse (if there is one there that day)? 

That sounds not expanding Medicaid.

And what if there were supplies and resources that my class desperately needed to conduct class and implement state mandated curricula that could be bought with readily available funds but decided not to use the money because it’s more important to say that I didn’t spend all of the allotted funds and brag about my fiscal responsibility?

That sounds like that huge state surplus we have in NC when schools need more funds.

And what if I made sure that if at the end of the school I had not covered the required curriculum and duties for which I as a teacher am responsible for just out of spite and contempt for others in the very school I work in?

Just look at what happened last week.

So…

What if I ran my classroom like Berger and Moore have been running the North Carolina General Assembly?

My students’ scores would absolutely suck. And every variable outside of the classroom that affects student achievement would be so exacerbated that a no “reform” could even mitigate the effects.

But, by God, I would ram those “reforms” down the throat of this state so someone could profit by it.

And blame others for all of it.

 

 

What If The NC School Performance Grading Formula Were Different

EdNC.org has a useful tool that helps education wonks and interested parties view the latest school perfomance grades in an interactive manner that allows the user to change major variables. Here is the link to their latest version.

Currently, the formula is calculated with 80% for achievement on standardized tests and 20% on growth. Note that North Carolina is one of seventeen states that uses a school performance grading system.

It is the only one that allows for achievement to outweigh growth.

Here is the current SPG allocations across the state at the current 80/20 formula.

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This is what it would look like if NC made the formula 50/50.

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And this is what it would look like if NC made the formula 20/80 (inverted from present).

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That’s quite the change.

 

 

 

 

 

That Erroneous Claim Gov. Cooper Left A “3.9% Pay Raise” For Teachers? It “Ain’t” What They Say It Is

Since this explanation was last posted, more and more lawmakers are still making the claim that what has stalled a budget from passing is that Gov. Roy Cooper under the influence of teacher groups like NCAE refused to take a raise of 3.9% for teachers.

And this graphic is still being used to cast a erroneously negative light on a situation that has so many more layers because in reality nothing could be further from the truth.

The problem is that the graphic is a woeful misrepresentation of the actual “raises” that were to be given out under the Senate’s plan. In fact, Cooper was right in issuing a veto because those raises were surgically constructed to have a glossy exterior but an empty effect.

That particular veto concerned Senate Bill 354.

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That bill would have put the following salary schedule in place for teachers.

SB354 2

It would have replaced this salary schedule.

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The problem is that there is not much of a difference. In fact, it would only affect teachers with 16+ years and even then, not much at all. Just look at the comparison.

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What that translates to is a monthly increase of $50 for all teachers with 16-20 years of experience.

150$/month for teachers with 21-24 years of experience.

$60/month for teachers with 25+ years.

But look at it in this manner – Why? Because it is important to note that the number of veteran teachers in North Carolina has gone down in the last few years – especially when the current NCGA powers who are currently bragging about what SB354 was offering.

Kristin Beller, the president of the Wake County Association of Educators and a champion in public school advocacy, “ran” these numbers concerning the proposed raises in SB354 against the current numbers of teachers in the state (those numbers can be  found here).

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The first part concerns the numbers of teachers in the state broken down by experience.

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Then she added numbers in the categories defined by SB354’s compensation ranges and showed the percentage of those groups as part of the entire teacher workforce.

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Then she multiplied the number of teachers in each rung that would get a raise by the actual monthly raise defined by SB354 and then added those products together. That sum is the amount of overall money given to the raises.

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Since the graphic at the beginning of the post “represents” the entire teaching profession getting an average “%3.9” raise, then it means that every teacher should have gotten something. Right?

Not so.

Furthermore, if you divide the sum of money to be used in the raises by the number of teachers in the state, you get… less than $33/month.

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And yes, that bill had “raises” for the following year.

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It does the exact same thing as the 2019-2020. Except it only adds $50 a month to each of the teachers in the 16+ year experience range.

That’s what Cooper vetoed.

His plan would have been much better for all teachers.

 

“DPI Spy Squad” Or The “Deep State” Or Maybe Even An “Elite Squad Of Ninjas?” Where Did Exhibit C Come From In The iStation Debacle?

From WRAL’s Kelly Hinchcliffe last week:

When reached by email Wednesday evening, the superintendent’s spokesman, Graham Wilson, released the following statement: “We do not know where the text message came from. We are conducting an investigation to try to find out.”

Wilson later sent a more detailed response:

“First, to ensure that blogger-conspiracies do not pass for actual news, DPI does not conduct surveillance of employees’ devices.

Second, this is still an ongoing investigation.

According to a former DPI employee, a printed copy of the text messages was slid under the office door, with no indication who did so.

That text message he is referring to is the now famous Exhibit C from the current iStation debacle that lasted all of last week.

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Slid under the office door? That’s how Mark Johnson got this? And that quip about “blogger conspiracies” was in reference to Justin Parmenter’s work based on actual investigative work which names real people with real documents with real actions and real logic.

Of course, Mr. Wilson gives us the “slid under the office door” explanation. Now the question is who slid it under that unidentified office door? Here are some theories:

The “Deep State”

Remember all of that talk about the Deep State that Mark Johnson alluded to when he made his announcement to run for LT. Governor?

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Maybe that “Deep State” is powerful enough to produce a mysterious paper with text messages on it and then slide it under a door? Apparently, they are that powerful.

Spies & Ninjas

Remember when DPI was reorganized two summers ago?

Below is what it was prior to the new reorganization.

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This is what it looks like now.

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Now just take a look at what Mark Johnson said in a recent radio interview about how his office received Exhibit C. (Again from Parmenter’s fantastic blog, Notes From the Chalkboard):

In the interview, Johnson mockingly referred to “my elite squad of ninjas” and “my DPI Spy Team.”

Maybe, we should make a new flowchart of DPI?

spiesninjas

Other Powerful Delivery Experts

Think about it. All of those “suspects” are known for what they do for ONE SPECIFIC DAY (except maybe leprechauns – but there are a lot of them, right?). It doesn’t mean that they aren’t working those other 364 days.

And they seem to know everyone’s address.

Deus Ex Machina

From literary-devices.com:

Deus ex Machina is a rather debatable and often criticized form of literary device. It refers to the incidence where an implausible concept or character is brought into the story in order to make the conflict in the story resolve and to bring about a pleasing solution. The use of Deus ex Machina is not recommended as it is seen to be the mark of a poor plot that the writer needs to resort to random, insupportable and unbelievable twists and turns to reach the end of the story.

Well, considering the drama that has become Mark Johnson’s tenure at DPI and the absolute fiction he seems to create on a daily basis, this use of a dubious literary device seems fitting.

Or maybe, just maybe…

Exhibit C did not just magically appear under someone’s door as claimed by Mr. Wilson.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Isn’t Mark Johnson Testifying In The iStation Hearing?

Today will mark the another day for the hearing for the iStation / Amplify debacle over the procurement of a reading assessment tool for elementary schools. Liz Bell of EdNC.org has been covering everyday.

The long-awaited hearing on the Department of Public Instruction’s choice of an assessment tool vendor to test K-3 student reading began Monday.

Department of Information Technology (DIT) General Counsel Jonathan Shaw on Monday began reviewing DPI’s process, which losing bidder Ampify claims was unfair.

Along with Bell, Dr. Chelsea Bartel, an experienced school psychologist, has been following the hearing with her twitter feed – @chimpsea. Her knowledge of the case and her advocacy for more transparency in the procurement process for iStation lends a rather piercing view of the the entire hearing process.

As many times as the word “superintendent” has shown up in a statement she has reported, it seems odd that probably the one person who might really need to be questioned in this hearing is Mark Johnson, especially after the bombshell of a revelation was reported by Justin Parmenter on his blog, Notes From the Chalkboard.

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The very text message that is “at the center of the months-long controversy was intercepted by DPI staff who used used the laptop of the former Director of K-3 Literacy to monitor her personal communications for more than a year after her retirement.”

So, it begs the question “Why in the hell is Mark Johnson not testifying at this hearing?”

Because what Parmenter has uncovered has truly necessitated a whole new line of questioning.

And he is running for the second highest office in the state right now.

 

Remember Longevity Pay? The Same Lawmakers Who Said They Were Giving Teachers Raises Took That Away Years Ago

It’s sadly humorous to hear so many NC GOP lawmakers “claim” that we as teachers” are allowing pay raises to stay on the table by supporting Gov. Cooper’s veto against the current edition of the now-overdue budget.

Why? Because those are the same lawmakers who took away longevity pay from teachers years ago.

 

harry brown

In the long session of 2014, the NC General Assembly raised salaries for teachers in certain experience brackets that allowed them to say that an “average” salary for teachers was increased by over 7%. They called it a “historic raise.”

However, if you divided the amount of money used in these “historic” raises by the number of teachers who “received” them, it would probably amount to about $270 per teacher.

That historic raise was funded in part by eliminating teachers’ longevity pay.

Similar to an annual bonus, this is something that all state employees in North Carolina — except, now, for teachers — gain as a reward for continued service. The budget rolled that money into teachers’ salaries and labeled it as a raise.

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That’s like me stealing money out of your wallet and then presenting it to you as a gift. And remember that educators are the only state employees who do not receive longevity pay.

It’s almost like the North Carolina General Assembly doesn’t even want to have teachers be considered employees of the state.

Last summer was the fifth summer that veteran teachers did not receive longevity pay. For the many veteran  teachers who have never really seen a raise in the past 6-7 years in actual dollars, the loss of longevity pay actually created a loss of net income on a yearly basis.

Consider the following table compiled by John deVille, NC public school activist and veteran teacher who has chronicled the various changes in educational policy for years. He tracked the recent teacher pay “increase” and used DATA-DRIVEN logic to show something rather interesting.

teacherpay2019

What deVille did was to compare salaries as proposed from the recent budget to the 2008-2009 budget that was in place right before the Great Recession hit, the same financial catastrophe that most every GOP stalwart seems to forget happened ten years ago. Adjusting the 2008-2009 salary schedule with an inflation index from the Bureau of Labor, the third column shows what those 2008-2009 salaries would be like now. Most steps see a shortfall. Add to that the loss of longevity pay that was used to help finance these “historic raises” and the amount of money lost by teachers over these past ten years becomes rather eye-opening.

Longevity pay does mean that much to veteran teachers. It also means a lot to the NCGA because they used its elimination to help wage a systematic war against veteran teachers.

In the last five-six years, new teachers entering the profession in North Carolina have seen the removal of graduate degree pay bumps and due-process rights. While the “average” salary increases have been most friendly to newer teachers (financed in part by removal of longevity), those pay “increases” do plateau at about Year 15 in a teacher’s career. Afterwards, nothing really happens. Teachers in that position may have to make career-ending decisions.

The removal of longevity might make those decisions easier to make on a personal level, but more difficult for the state to recover from.

Veteran teachers fight for schools, for students, for fairness in funding, and for the profession. When they act as a cohesive group, they represent an entity that scares the current leaders of the North Carolina General Assembly like nothing else.

One of the best ways to act as a cohesive group is to vote in November of 2020 and not for Dan Forest as our next governor.

Why That “3.9% Pay Raise” That Was Vetoed Really Wasn’t a “3.9% Pay Raise” To Begin With

NCGA GOP stalwarts are trying to frame the narrative that Gov. Cooper and NCGA Senate Democrats placed teachers on the chopping block because they upheld a veto on what was presented as a 3.9% average raise in teacher salaries.

And that narrative is a gross misinterpretation of the reality.

On the surface, what Berger & Co. are presenting to the public is that teachers now will not get a 3.9% average raise.

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But many people forget that when budgets are written for the state, they are biennial budgets: two-year budgets. When teachers are said to be getting a 3.9% pay raise in “this budget,” it means it is over a two-year period. That “full” raise is not occurring immediately. Plus, any budget  can be amended in a future session to offset anything passed in this past summer.

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Now, consider this:

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Step increases based on seniority according to that tweet above are also part of the “raises.” The issue is that those step increases have already passed in a mini-budget bill this past fall.

Lawmakers in the Senate Thursday passed what’s known as step increases for teachers.

It’s basically a bonus. For each year you’ve been a teacher, you’ll get about a $100 step increase up until a certain point but some are worried it’s not enough.

Lawmakers have been passing these ‘mini budgets’ since Governor Cooper vetoed the full budget, months ago.

That makes that whole narrative of leaving a 3.9% raise on the table even more misleading.

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What Cooper and Senate Democrats vetoed was based on the last graphic there.