RALEIGH – The more things change, the more they stay the same. Such is the case with the Democrats’ latest haranguing of Republicans over teacher pay and hyping up teachers to participate in a massive walkout to coincide with lawmakers return to the legislature.
On May 16 teachers will descend on the state capital to demand more teacher pay. So far, 11 school systems will shut down that day due to high levels of teacher absence, including: Wake County Schools, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Guilford County Schools, Mooresville Graded School District, Durham Public Schools, Nash-Rocky Mount Schools, Orange County Schools, Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, Asheville City Schools, Iredell-Statesville Schools and Cabarrus County Schools.
That list will likely grow as Left-leaning media and activists fan the flames for the chosen 2018 Democratic campaign issue.
With so many schools closing in the middle of the work week, forcing working parents to find alternative childcare or take a sick day, one must wonder would the economic loss is across the state. After all, it is the taxes paid by working people and business owners that fund teacher salaries, from state taxes, to county taxes, and so on. An analysis of the total economic impact would be an interesting read for sure.
These teachers are doing more than simple civic engagement – they are disrupting local economies and perturbing parents all at the same time.
All told, the gleeful Left expects more than 10,000 teachers to show up at the legislature as it convenes a short session to modify the State’s two-year budget. Part of that budget, with total spending numbers already agreed to between the N.C. House and Senate, will include a teacher pay raise. Actually, the fifth teacher pay raise to be passed by Republicans, bringing the average teacher’s salary well above $50,000.
Republicans, despite accusations from the Left that they effectively give teachers the shaft every chance they get and don’t care about education, have done much more than Democrats let on.
A list of teacher compensation actions taken by Republican majorities over the last several years:
- In 2018 a fifth consecutive pay raise will be provided to N.C. teachers.
- The average teacher pay raise from 2017-19 will be $4,412.
- The average teacher pay raise from 2014-2019 will be $8,600.
- North Carolina ranked #1 in the U.S. for fastest rising teacher pay in 2017 according to the National Education Association.
- North Carolina ranked #2 in the U.S. for fastest rising teacher pay in 2018 according to the National Education Association.
- A teacher with five years of experience would earn $9,200 more in 2018-19 than the same teacher in 2013-14, from $30,800 to $40,000, a 29.9% increase.
- A teacher with twelve years of experience would earn $15,330 more in 2018-19 than that teacher did in 2013-14, from $31,670 to $47,000, a 48% increase.
- A teacher with sixteen years of experience would earn $11,840 more in 2018-19 than the same teacher did in 2013-14, from $38,160 to $50,000, a 31% increase.
- A teacher with twenty-five years of experience would earn $9,040 more in 2018-19 than they did in 2013-14, from $42,260 to $51,300, a 21.4% increase.
Other bonus programs and compensation incentives for North Carolina teachers:
- Teacher Assistant Tuition Reimbursement
- Initial Teacher Licensing Fee Reimbursement
- Future Teachers of North Carolina
- Supplements for Highly Qualified Graduates
- Advanced Teaching Roles Pilot Program
- New Teacher Support Program
- Highly qualified Teacher Salary Supplements
- 3rd Grade Reading Bonuses
- AP/IB/CTE Bonuses
- 4th-8th Reading/Math Bonuses
- Veteran teacher bonuses
- New Teaching Fellows Program
Compare those numbers with the median household income for North Carolina in 2016 (the most recently available data) of $48,256. To stage such huge demonstrations on the premise that teachers don’t receive a fair or livable wage is to insult millions of North Carolinians that provide for their families on far less.
The reality simply does not match the narrative being spun by the Left on teacher pay. Not even close. Yet this is the kind of narrative accepted widely by the Left:
So eloquent. That, however, is to be expected from a group that thrives on agitation due to their inability to pass legislation. (B-B-But Gerrymandering!!)
And the agitation is reaching such a large scale among teachers that it is brushing up against laws against unionization in the Old North State.
.@SenatorBerger critical of school closure for teacher protest: “Teacher strikes are illegal in NC, and in some respects what we’re seeing looks like a work slowdown, and looks like a fairly typical union activity, and the people of NC don’t support that sort of action” #ncpol
— Colin Campbell (@RaleighReporter) May 7, 2018
North Carolina law forbids employees of any public agency (i.e. teachers) to form any organization for the purpose of negotiating a contract defining wages and rights for such agency’s employees. State government agencies are forbidden from entering into any contract with any collective bargaining unit, or union.
These walk-outs get uncomfortably close to the legal limits, considering the pivotal role played by the N.C. Association of Educators plays in the incessant agitation on behalf of North Carolina teachers.
Ultimately, though, North Carolina is stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to education. It is written right into our state constitution.
“Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools, libraries, and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.”
While the document goes on to outline how taxes and state control are to support this ‘encouragement,’ perhaps this role of government should be revisited for the benefit of children, primarily, but for teachers too.
The General Assembly is rumored to be considering constitutional amendments during the upcoming short session. Maybe amending the constitution to inject more liberty into education would be better for all concerned parties (except for the Big Government Leftists of course).
State run and financed school systems are fundamentally contrary to ideals of a free society; it undermines individual and family choice and responsibility and snuffs out innovation and variety in educational life. It inevitably becomes coercive, inequitably financed, and intellectually, socially and racially regressive in its effects.
Does that sound like a good way to encourage the means of education? No.
If educators were really interested in making education as dynamic and prosperous as possible; in preparing children for the future armed with knowledge, critical thinking, and job skills; in being a party to mutual exchange for mutual benefit, maybe they should rally for the purposes of injecting more liberty and market principles into education, instead of a massive teacher walk-out to demand higher taxpayer-funded salaries.