When my students misunderstand the question or the assignment, I have them re-read what is being asked of them. Based on the News & Observer Article put out today the deputy president pro tempore, Senator Ralph Hise, should probably do the same as well.
According to the article, those of us in NCAE “are paying dues to fund NCAE leadership’s far-left political vanity projects.”
There’s a lot to unpack here but let’s first break down the beginning of Hise’s statement above.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary when used as an adjective the word vanity is used to describe something that is done with the aim of getting praise, fame, or approval rather than for serious or good reasons.
Now that we are all working with a common definition let’s move on. On one hand, where exactly is the project that we are undertaking solely for fame, praise or approval? On the other hand, why do you so quickly assume that this day of action was seemingly forced on us?
Is the vanity project the demand that North Carolina get to the nationally recommended ratio of students to school counselors of 1:250? As of April 2018, we sat at 1:386, and that does not take into account the times when counselors are pulled for other duties such as lunch duty. Or is the vanity project the fact that the same article cited above puts North Carolina at 1:2,100 for school psychologists, this when the recommended ratio is 1:700? Or maybe it’s for more school nurses as less than half of the school districts in North Carolina meet the recommended ratio of 1:750. The National Association of School Nurses goes even further advocating for one school nurse in every single school building, something that my school district, and most others in North Carolina, are unable to provide.
Or maybe Senator Hise thinks the vanity project is advocating for our Educational Support Personnel (ESPs) who work in our schools every single day helping us support our students. Did you really think we would forget when you left them behind and did not give them an hourly wage of $15? They are just as much a part of our educator family as anyone else working in our public schools.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe he thinks the vanity project is advocating for the return of more pay for advanced degrees, something that actually has bipartisan support in the North Carolina General Assembly right now.
Senator Hise, you should want as many highly educated people to be teaching the future of North Carolina as possible. As it currently stands there is no reason for any teacher in North Carolina to go out and continue their education to earn an advanced degree. That costs money, and if we are not going to receive more compensation, why should we truly bother?
I suppose the vanity project could be us demanding that those hired after 2021 earn health benefits when they retire, something that was taken away in 2017. If Senator Hise thinks this state has a problem retaining or attracting teachers now, just wait until it makes it insanely difficult to hire people after 2021.
Later in his comments to the News & Observer, Senator Hise said this, “Apparently recognizing that Republican leadership has been great for teachers and students, the radical left-wing NCAE added Obamacare Medicaid expansion to its list of demands,” Hise said. “If it wasn’t clear before, it is now: The NCAE is a far-left political organization that uses the teachers and students it purports to represent as a tool to advance its leaders’ unrelated political agenda.”
It is truly telling, that the Senator does not see or understand the importance of healthcare to education. If my students are not healthy, they cannot learn. If my students are unable to get their medicine for ADD, ADHD or anything else, they cannot learn. If my students cannot get glasses they cannot learn as they cannot see. So you see, the expansion of Medicaid is extremely important to education. Oh, and North Carolina is one of only 13 states who have not yet expanded Medicaid.
Towards the end of his statement, Senator Hise says, “North Carolina teacher pay has grown at the third-highest rate in the entire country over the last five years, and teachers absolutely deserve it.” Thank you Senator for recognizing that we deserve our raises. However, just about every teacher would agree with me when I say you have a lot of work to do still. Not all of us work in the counties with a 15+% supplement. We will never, as the pay scale currently sits, average the approximately $53,000 the average apparently is in this state. Even in those higher supplement counties, the cost of living is higher than in other places so those supplements while nice, do not stretch as far as they may seem. Take a look at the state pay scale again and you’ll understand why it is not just the liberal counties looking to march on Raleigh on May 1st.
To conclude his statement, Senator Hise said, “Yet the NCAE leadership is still calling for a strike on May 1st.”
Senator, NCAE leadership called for the day of action on May 1st. That being said, just because they called for it does not mean the delegates at the convention had to support it. They could have voted against the motion. Instead, they overwhelming voted to proceed with the day of action. It seems that you are a little unsure how a representative assembly functions, in which case I am concerned because of the position you hold in our state.
Hopefully you will understand soon but if you need some help, I am sure there are going to be plenty of social studies teachers in Raleigh on May 1st who could give you a refresher course. Maybe you should listen to them.
Senator Hise, we love our students. We love our colleagues. This is not a vanity project. We would must rather be helping our students grow into responsible citizens. Sometimes, you have to teach through modelling. May 1st, we will model what happens when the government does not listen to the citizens it represents.
I’ll see you on May 1st, with thousands of my closest friends.