On Monday, two days ahead of the May 16 march through downtown Raleigh organized by the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE), the NCAE released a letter calling the planned protest “union activity” and calling itself a union.
In the past NCAE has vehemently denied it is a union, and North Carolina is a non-union state, but now it seems that NCAE has flipped positions and is embracing itself as a union. It even claimed the Chicago Teachers’ Union is the inspiration for the planned protest.
In the letter NCAE says “The General Assembly didn’t give us permission to do this. We certainly don’t need their permission to call ourselves a union. More importantly, we don’t need their permission to act like one.”
The letter goes on to say “If May 16th is going to matter, we have to build our union.”
This appears to be a total change from just a few months ago when on its website NCAE stated that the organization is not a union in a response letter in regards to the Nov. 4, 2017 “walk in.” Then the NCAE encouraged teachers to “stay in the classroom and invite community members, elected officials, parents, and concerned citizens to become involved in the successes of public education that happen on a daily basis in North Carolina.”
NCAE also made a point to mention that they were not advocating any kind of walk out at that time saying, “The NCAE has never encouraged any educators to turn their backs on their classrooms or their students at any time.”
Now, however, NCAE has flipped on that and is advocating for teachers leaving the classroom to participate in the march and rally calling for higher pay, safer schools and more school funding.
In response many school districts are closing for the day or making the days optional teacher work days because too many teachers are going to be out that day to continue on.
As of Tuesday, the school systems closing for the day include: Alamance-Burlington, Alexander County, Asheboro City, Asheville City, Brunswick County, Buncombe County, Cabarrus County, Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Chatham County, Cumberland County, Davie County, Durham County, Franklin County, Gaston County, Granville County, Guilford County, Hickory Public Schools, Hoke County, Iredell-Statesville, Johnston County, Kannapolis City Schools, Lexington City Schools, Mooresville Grade School District, Nash-Rocky Mounty, New Hanover County, Orange, County, Onslow County, Pender County, Pitt County, Rowan-Salisbury, Stanly County, Thomasville, Union County, Wake County, Warren County, Wayne County and the Winston Salem-Forsyth school district.
The letter brags about closing down more than 30 school districts in the state and lobbies for block voting to move legislative leadership out of office saying, “We’re not going to be fooled. If they suddenly decide to invest in our schools after years of deprivation, we know why. If they don’t, we have options.”
The letter also claims credit for any increases to education in the budget coming in the Short Session even though teachers have received pay increases for the last five consecutive years in the budget.
The letter says, “If this legislative session results in any additional resources or supports going to public schools, it’s because educators acting together demonstrated just how many and how powerful we are.”
The letter also calls for educators to vote as a block, controlling all elections in the state from local city councils on up to the Governor’s Mansion saying, “If we organized students, parents, educators, and the supporters of public schools in this state, we could run every school board, county commission, and city council. We could elect every judge, member of the House and Senate, and Governor.”
The letter even goes on to say that controlling North Carolina by voting as a block means the NCAE could affect the Presidential election, given North Carolina’s importance in the Electoral College.
The letter goes on to state what the NCAE demands are for the May 16 protests.
NCAE is calling for more pay for teachers and that they are “pretty sure sexism has something to do with it.”
Specifically NCAE is calling for a “professional pay scale that values veteran educators” and more resources and supplies in the classrooms.
NCAE also demands smaller class sizes a “curriculum that affirms their humanity.”
Though NCAE has spent years denying that it is a union with the organization now apparently embracing the identity what does this mean for the North Carolina Public School System going forward?