May 8, 2018/Press

Sen. Berger Threatens Teachers During National Teacher Appreciation Week

Raleigh – Late yesterday afternoon, Senator Berger issued a veiled threat to the tens of thousands of North Carolina teachers who plan to rally at the General Assembly next week and belittled their fight for better pay, better school standards, and a reverse to GOP budget cuts as “fairly typical union activity.”

“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.” – Sen. Berger [Twitter, 5/7/18]

Reminding teachers that “teacher strikes are illegal” is nothing short of a veiled threat to educators who are frustrated by low pay and school funding that continues to lag behind national standards.

Teachers are marching on the General Assembly next week because the Berger-led, GOP-controlled General Assembly has refused to give teachers and our schools the resources they need, instead enacting budget-busting tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. Under Berger’s watch:

  • 39th in the nation for per pupil spending. NC spends $2,400 less per-pupil than the U.S. average ($9,528 vs. $11,934). In fact, state funding is still 8% below pre-recession funding.
  • 37th in the nation for teacher pay. When adjusting for inflation, teachers earn 9.4 percent less today than they did in 2009.
  • Over 7,452 NC teacher assistants have been lost since 2008.

“Senator Berger should try listening to – not belittling – our state’s teachers, who continue to do more with less and are suffering under a Republican-controlled legislature that values rigging the system for their corporate donors over investing in our students,” NCDP spokesman Robert Howard said. “Teachers across the country and the state are marching to stand up for much needed investments in our schools. It’s time Republicans start listening to them.”