Message From the President — November 2013

NCAE Members: Here’s What We Have Done, Are Doing and Will Do for You!

 

Like me, I know that many of you are frustrated by the actions taken by the General Assembly and the governor that have hurt public education. Some of you may be tempted by the NC Teacher Walk-out scheduled for November 4, but I’d like to encourage you to take a proactive approach.

The NC Teacher Walk-out event is not endorsed by NCAE and we want you to understand that there may be legal and employment consequences to participating in this activity. Please consider carefully the consequences and know that if you knowingly violate polices, NCAE will assist as much as possible but cannot guarantee a favorable outcome should school officials take disciplinary actions. Another thing to consider is the impact this act will have on the community support for educators and public education. Right now, the community is on our side, but if we engage in activities that force parents to have to make accommodations for their children, we risk losing that support!

So, in lieu of a walk-out, NCAE is organizing a “Walk Into Your Public School and Walk Out Inspired” event during American Education Week. We are inviting state lawmakers to spend a day in schools to work alongside and talk with educators about successes and challenges, and familiarize themselves with our schools. We encourage you to reach out to leaders within your community and parents and ask them to participate as well (see the front-page story of the November News Bulletin or check the NCAE Web site, www.ncae.org,  for more information).

Although NCAE and its affiliates have been in the news numerous times over the past several months in support of public education, some members are still asking the questions, “What Has NCAE Done” and “What is NCAE Doing to Voice Educator Frustrations?” Well, let me share some of what the Association has done and is doing for you in response to the budget and bad legislative policies passed during this last session…

  • NCAE Leadership Team arrested on behalf of public education during the July 22 Moral Monday Demonstration
  • Thousands of educators, many of them NCAE members, participate in the July 29 Moral Monday Demonstration to speak out against budget cuts and policy changes that impact educators and public schools
  • NCAE and Public Schools First launch statewide “Public Schools Matter” Tour
  • NCAE local affiliates host rallies and forums to engage communities in the battle to protect public education from harmful decision-making
  • NCAE, in partnership with Public Schools First of NC, launches statewide “Educate Every Child” community town hall meetings
  • ORGANIZING – The Association is training staff and members to become effective at organizing around issues of concern. The 2013 Summer Leaders Conference marked the beginning of NCAE’s efforts to begin “organizing for power.” Subsequent AR trainings have focused on organizing as did Committees and Commissions Day.
  • WEAR RED CAMPAIGN – NCAE called on educators across the state to “wear red for public ed” on the first day of school and every Wednesday for the reminder of the school year. Media outlets visited schools throughout the state to capture the support for public education.
  • LEGAL ACTION – NCAE is filing a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the legislation passed by lawmakers that strips educators of career status, and is working closely with school board attorneys and school officials in interpreting the legal requirements of the 25 percent contract provision.
  • VOUCHERS – NCAE plans to file a lawsuit against the state for the voucher legislation passed this year. This likely will be part of a coalition with other groups and concerned citizens over diverting taxpayer funds from public education to provide for use in private schools.

NCAE is also working on a political strategy that includes:

  • A plan to fix the master’s pay issue,
  • Have salaries unfrozen and place educators on the correct salary step,
  • Repeal the Excellence Schools Act
  • Implement a plan for recruitment and retention, repeal the $10 million voucher plan
  • Address Time to Teach.

NCAE has the momentum and public support to succeed in turning around the wrongs that have been done to public education in North Carolina. Along with your involvement, we can and will take back our state and save our profession. Together, let’s take the lead and meet the challenge!