Serving teachers sh*t and getting mad when they won't eat
There’s a photo making the rounds all over social media that purports to be from this year’s North Carolina Association of Educators ``annual meeting.” It shows three masked women standing in front of a white board marked with “visions'' of the association. Near as I can tell, it was taken at this summer’s NCAE Leaders Conference (I couldn’t find it on any of the NCAE’s official pages, but a couple members told me that’s where it was from). Among the “visions' ' listed on the board (and helpfully circled for attention are: get more involved in politics, grow local through conflict, and flip the NCGA.
Predictably, “conservatives” (especially those running for local school boards) are losing their damn minds.
Before I even get going, let me state the OBVIOUS - because judging what I read on social media it needs to be stated and stated FIRMLY. The North Carolina Association of Educators is NOT a union. In FACT (facts are pesky things), it is ILLEGAL for public employees to unionize in NC. North Carolina prohibits collective bargaining by ALL public employees (including teachers) by LAW. The NCAE is a professional development and advocacy organization.
Now, back to the picture. It strikes me that the three “visions'' highlighted by “conservatives” are causing such a stir. It strikes me, but it doesn’t surprise me. Of course these people don’t want to highlight ideas like “leaders view schools as investments,” or “restore master’s pay,” or gain a “seat at the budgeting table.” They don’t want to talk about THOSE visions at all - because those visions are in direct conflict with their years long goal to defund and privatize public education. And THAT is exactly why visions like “flip the NCGA” are necessary for any association that advocates for teachers.
The North Carolina General Assembly has been controlled by the Republican Party since 2011. In the last ten years, while under Republican control, the NCGA has moved to abolish higher pay for teachers with advanced degrees, eliminate retirement benefits for new teachers, astronomically increase the out of pocket expenses for teacher healthcare benefits, play hide and replace the money with the NC “education” lottery, cap earning potential for veteran teachers, and systematically remove funding from traditional public schools to hand over to for-profit charters and private schools. Given those facts WHY ON EARTH would ANY organization advocating for teachers support ANY REPUBLICAN in the NCGA. OF COURSE they want to flip the NCGA!
On top of all that, NCGOP leaders are now running all over the state, locking arms and taking smiley-faced pictures with none other than Sloan Rachmuth, founder of the not-so-not-for-profit Education First Alliance, which seems to exist for the sole purpose of demonizing, doxing, harassing, and insulting teachers and public school staff. I mean SERIOUSLY. The same Board of Education candidates who are “outraged” by this picture are the ones having BBQ dinners with Sloan and allowing their pictures to be used on her promotional material. Meanwhile, she is pocketing cash for the donations to her “non-profit” errrr….sorry, I mean “PAC,” calling teachers pedophiles for liking rainbows, and offering cash to anyone who gives her the names and schools of any teacher who happens to be a Democrat so that she can dox them.
GTFOH with your outrage.
Teachers NEED to be political. WHY? Because it is politicians who set the terms of their employment, decide how much they get paid, set the curriculum standards they must teach, legislate how they are judged in their performance, and have complete control of whether or not they have a safe and supportive work environment. Republicans have been in charge of all those things for eleven years. They have FAILED. And on top of that failure, they are actively and willingly participating in war against educators being conducted by a charlatan determined to make their lives a living hell so that SHE can use a PAC to support herself.
Of COURSE the NCAE wants to flip the General Assembly, I would question their sanity if they didn’t.
My advice to all you “conservatives” who are so (fake) outraged by these political goals of a teacher advocacy group is to remember which party has been attacking and demonizing teachers and starving our public schools of funding and resources for the last eleven years.
Republicans - you can’t keep feeding teachers a pile of manure and expecting them to thank you for being allowed to eat.
They want a new chef.
And no one in their right mind could blame them.
***Commentary by Cheryl Christy. Cheryl can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org