RALEIGH – Today is the first day of school – an exciting day for many North Carolina students, teachers, and administrators as they return to the classroom, but also a frustrating one. Instead of compromising with the Governor to pass a budget that supports schools, Republican leadership in the General Assembly have refused for 49 days to present a counteroffer to the Governor’s compromise budget, shortchanging public schools and sending teachers back to school without the raises they deserve.
Dan Forest has also failed teachers for years and disparaged educators in the press:
- Instead of supporting budgets that support educators, Dan Forest would like folks to remember, “No one is forcing [teachers] to take these jobs…they’re volunteering.”
- Dan Forest has historically turned his back on public schools to support for-profit charter schools and rake in tens of thousands in campaign contributions. Take John Bryan – who gave $50,000 to Forest’s Truth & Prosperity PAC at the same time his charter school network was expanding into North Carolina. Forest has received more than $125,000 in political contributions from the charter schools he supposedly regulates.
- North Carolinians also remember Forest’s ‘North Carolina Education Endowment Fund,’ which was supposed to pay bonuses to the ‘highest-performing teachers’ based on measured student achievement. It would be supplemented, according to Forest, by way of customized ‘I Support Teachers’ license plates. Forest’s Fund was meant to circumvent the adequate appropriation of state funds to pay teachers what they deserve.
- In 2013, Dan Forest called teacher salaries “shameful.” He also said, “I think there’s plenty of money in government [already]. We’ll figure out a way to [increase teacher pay]. I think we need to put our money where our mouth is.”
So far, Republican leadership has found no such way to increase teacher pay. Instead, Speaker Moore has pushed an override vote for 27 consecutive House sessions, even touting a willingness to drag this out until December before initiating a vote.
Last week, Moore “made clear he’d keep trying to cobble together the votes for an override. He also told reporters, “I made it clear all along that we’re going to be looking for alternative plans.” Those ‘alternative plans,’ of course, are no more than political games, and equate to a series of piecemeal budget bills and a so-called refund that would continue to shortchange public education for the resources teachers and students require.