Skip to main content

State flag of North Carolina

What follows is an excellent case study in how voters need to be very skeptical consumers in an election year, particularly as it relates to Republican officeholders claiming to care about issues where their historical reputation is ... let's just say ... a bit compromised.

(The list of those issues, for what it is worth, is a lengthy one.)

This fall, when North Carolina's embattled GOP legislative majority begins their respective bids for re-election, Tar Heel State voters will undoubtedly be inundated with ads hailing the GOP legislature for fighting for "huge increases in teacher pay."

And, indeed, the budget plan approved in committee by the state Senate does propose a salary increase of over 11 percent.

As you would expect when dealing with a legislative body as right-wing as the North Carolina legislature, however, there is a catch. Two of them, in fact.

Please read below the fold to find out what they are.

Catch #1:

While Republicans promoted the budget for offering veteran teachers pay raises above 10 percent, they also had to find the $468 million to fund the raises. They made line-item cuts totaling $390 million, of which more than half came from reducing funds that school districts could otherwise use to hire 7,400 teacher assistants.
Yup, don't make the mistake of presuming that this budget somehow grows the educational pie in any meaningful way. Rather than ask others to share the sacrifice in order to fund quality compensation for teachers, the GOP majority simply stole the money from elsewhere in the education budget. On top of other cuts, the state's Association of School Adminstrators estimated job losses north of 10,000 statewide.

This is hardly novel. Politicians (and, mournfully, not all of them Republicans) have made an annoying habit of pitting critical cogs in the public education machine against one another when it comes time to distribute funds, in the never-ending political parlor game of divide and conquer.

Nor is the other part of the "teacher raise" story particularly novel. Feast your eyes on catch #2:

The pay raises, announced Wednesday before the budget’s release, would give an 11.2 percent average increase for veteran teachers, but only for those who voluntarily give up their tenure. Those who don’t would be left on the current salary schedule with little or no pay raise, Republicans said.
This is almost assuredly in response to legislative Republicans getting spanked earlier in the month by a federal judge, who gutted their 2013 law repealing teacher tenure. Senate Republicans now are trying to sneak stripping tenure through the backdoor by forcing teachers to either swallow having their professional rights hatcheted, or living with the same flatlined wages they've suffered through for six years (save a putrid 1.2 percent raise in 2012).

One Republican lawmaker admitted as much:

"We're giving teachers a full choice. If the tenure is important to them," Berger said, "they can keep it. If however what they want to do is move to this new pay scale, they can do that as well."
That Berger feels this is an either/or decision speaks volumes of his, and his party's, level of "commitment" to teachers, and to education. One hopes North Carolina voters remember this come November.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri May 30, 2014 at 09:45 AM PDT.

Also republished by North Carolina BLUE, Teachers Lounge, and Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site