My wife was digging through old family letters when she came across a newspaper clipping that had been saved by her mother, Florence Delano Brown. The clipping reported an event at the city auditorium in Lakeland, Florida, on February 25, 1942. The speaker at the event was Helen Keller.
Ms. Keller had much to say, and I will share more of her remarks later, but one specific comment caught my attention. It is a marvelous quotation I have not seen reported on any website or in any book.
"I feel that God has appointed teachers architects of American democracy."
These days it seems that our so-called leaders see teachers as pack-mules for narrow-minded political agendas, or worse. Would that they shared Ms. Keller's inspiring view of the role of public educators.
The GOP ploy to pay starter-teachers more than seasoned veterans has triggered outrage in public education, and rightly so. It is an irresponsible and shameless effort to divide and conquer. It also represents the false choice of rewarding the richest North Carolinians at the expense of everyone else.
McCrory's recently announced pay increase (for some teachers) can't fix this. There's simply not enough money in the coffers to properly fund public education.
What are the odds of Republicans reversing course and reinstating a progressive tax code in North Carolina? They are non-existent. No matter how much happy talk we hear, the budget bed has already been made. We're in for a nightmare.
Submitted by SarahMarie on Thu, 01/30/2014 - 4:29pm
I love learning. I want to be a civil rights attorney when I grow up. However, every day my dream seems harder to reach. North Carolina lawmakers are destroying education, one law at a time. Last year NC lawmakers passed laws that suspended pay for teachers with master’s degrees, assistant teachers have been cut, charter schools only have to have 50% of their teachers licensed, taxpayer money is going towards vouchers to allow some students to go to private schools, and teacher tenure will be replaced with one, two, or four year contracts by 2018. Wonderful teachers are leaving in swarms, but can we blame them? I would leave too.
The Durham public school system is hosting 4 meetings to gather community input on how to find alternatives to suspensions and expulsions. It is vital for all members of the Durham community to participate in these discussions. There will be an opportunity to express frustrations, while also offering some proposed solutions. Currently, there are 4 public meetings scheduled:
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7: 10:30AM-12:00PM
THE STAFF DEVELOPMENT CENTER, 2107 HILLANDALE ROAD
MONDAY, DECEMBER 9: 6:30PM-8:00PM
NORTHERN HIGH SCHOOL, 117 TOM WILKINSON ROAD
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10: 6:30PM-8:00PM*
SOUTHERN HIGH SCHOOL 800 CLAYTON ROAD
*THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION’S OFFICE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS (OCR) HAS BEEN INVITED TO THIS PUBLIC MEETING
MONDAY, DEC. 16, 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m.
WHITE ROCK BAPTIST CHURCH, 3400 FAYETTEVILLE ST
“I would prefer that we reduce some of the programs that are providing funds for people not working,” he says. “There’s an awful lot of that going on. I would rather spend money educating people rather than continuously feeding them.”
So there you have it. A multi-billionaire who would rather not "continuously feed" people who are hungry ... and who sees schools as nothing more than farms for his workers. Good luck educating all those dead people, Mr. Goodnight. You're really going to need it.
Mr. Goodnight, the CEO of SAS in Cary, may be a genius when it come to building a software company, but when it comes to understanding the challenges of public education, he's full of crap. Blame the teachers, he says? Riiiiiight.
If teachers at all levels had the pay and benefits SAS employees enjoy, we wouldn't have half the problems we do in public and higher education.
Ah those pesky teachers. Always thinking about themselves instead of their students.
Never mind that our teacher salaries are among the lowest in the nation. Never mind that they don't have money to pay for supplies and books. Disregard the fact that the resources they depend on are being stripped away to line the pockets of for-profit "educators." Ignore the ongoing war on teachers. It's a figment of your imagination.
Rumor has it that some teachers are ready to say "enough is enough." They'll be staging a "walk-in" and wearing red next Monday, pointing to both the insults and injuries coming from the General Assembly. Meanwhile, Phil Berger is crying crocodile tears about the potential risks to students of teachers on the war path.
For what it's worth, I stand with teachers. I see this walk-in as a tentative and small step that tests the waters of collective action. The response to the test will likely be nothing but condemnation by our arrogant legislators. Unless and until teachers demonstrate their power to shutdown the system, they won't get the respect they deserve.
It may be apocryphal, but I've always loved this business school case study for its simplicity. After sitting through a seemingly endless strategic planning meeting to come up with a new mission for the company, the CEO of Perrier allegedly shot to his feet screaming, "Sell More Perrier!"
The brain trust at the NCGA that wrote the state budget this year--you know the one, it was devastating to teachers and public education - have created a committee to advise them on teacher pay. Does anyone else want to shout, "Pay Teachers a Living Wage!!"?
There is just a little more advice I would offer, without the benefit of a Committee Room, microphone or gavel.
1. Do not fire teachers.
2. Do not fire teacher assistants.
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