In response to today’s announcement from Governor Pat McCrory regarding a new program to increase the base salary for teachers, NCAE Organize 2020 Caucus member and Durham High School teacher Bryan Proffitt states, “After an onslaught of education policies that were passed last summer with no warning and no debate, we are now presented with another policy that responds to the legitimate concerns of parents, students, and teachers with a divisive half-measure: a fraction of teachers will see an increase in pay next year, yet our students and our schools will continue to be underfunded. As teachers work tirelessly to meet the needs of our children and our communities, the majority of them must now deal with the knowledge that next year they will continue to be paid the same salary they have since 2008, all the while coping with the impact of devastating new testing mandates, NC’s 28% child poverty rate, less money for instructional supplies, fewer teaching assistants, larger class sizes, and being robbed of our most basic due process rights before being fired at will.”
In the past year, the legislature and the Governor of NC have made sweeping changes to public education in the state that has impacted teachers, students, and communities. Legislation has included the controversial Read to Achieve program, which requires third graders to pass a battery of weekly literacy tests or risk retention; removing pay supplements for teachers who attain Master’s degrees; taking the cap off of the number of NC's charter schools; launching a draining voucher program that takes money directly from public schools and funnels it into private schools; and removing the due-process system for teachers who have demonstrated their commitment by reaching career status.
However, the legislature and Governor have also repeatedly made changes to their stances based on public outcry. Although Governor McCrory created a panel of advisers on education, it is not clear how they provide input to educational policy or on what information that input is based. There has been no representative input from teachers and parents in the state of North Carolina to the recent legislation.
In order to gain input on the state of our schools and to envision and plan for positive changes, Organize 2020 announces a statewide meeting of school workers, parents, and allies of public education to take place in Greensboro on March 8, 2014.
The March 8 event, entitled “Launch into Action,” will provide an opportunity for those who have daily involvement in public education to work together to envision how to best improve public education. It will also include information sharing on the impact that recent legislation has had on our schools and training on effective organizing techniques. Lois Weiner, scholar, author and national educational advocate, will provide a keynote address. The event will take place 10 am - 4 pm on Saturday, March 8 at the Guilford Technical Community College Jamestown Campus in the Koury Auditorium. The event is free, with lunch provided, but is limited to 200 participants.
Organize 2020 has recently been recognized as a caucus of the North Carolina Association of Educators. March 8 will be the inaugural event as a recognized caucus, although educators involved in the group have organized a number of events with teachers, parents and students throughout the state, including the November 4 Walk-In for public education.