In an effort to raise a bit of awareness about the state of teaching salaries in North Carolina, I wrote a bit on the Radical last weekend titled The Truth about Thom Tillis and North Carolina’s “Historic” Teacher Raises.
A reader calling themselves TW27 stopped by to let me know that my piece was garbage:
But I guess it doesn’t matter that the Democrats didn’t give teachers a raise at all in 4 years? Give credit where some credit is due. The piece is garbage when you clearly have a slant and can’t be objective. Where are your solutions? Anyone can point out our problems, but I don’t see many solutions being offered. The Dems didn’t offer much up in those 4 years.
Now let me make something perfectly clear: I’m not ready to let any politician — regardless of party — off the hook for systematically screwing up education. Heck, I’ve slammed Arne Duncan enough times in the last six years (see here, here, here, here and here) to prove that I don’t suffer left-leaning fools lightly either.
But the central point in my previous piece stands: A look at the numbers proves that the recent raises given to North Carolina’s teachers are far from”historic” and “the largest in a generation” — terms that Tillis is touting on the campaign trail.
In fact, the raises given to North Carolina’s teachers would probably be more accurately described as:
- “Better than nothing,” or…
- “A drop in the bucket,” or…
- “Getting teachers back to just SEVEN percent less than they used to make before their salaries were frozen for the better part of a decade.”
And given the sketchy nature of the funding sources that are being used to float our nifty new budget, the raises given to North Carolina’s teachers could also be more accurately described as:
- “Somewhere in that silly financial gray area between temporary and permanent that politicians love to live in,” or…
- “A huge political gamble,” or….
- “Damn near crippling to every other social service agency that serves the poor in North Carolina.”
Heck, I’d even be happy with:
- “A small but important step in the right direction,” or…
- “Not nearly enough, but the best we can do right now,” or…
- “An honest attempt to show North Carolina’s teachers that we ARE trying and that we DO care.”
The question that voters need to ask is why ISN’T Tillis using that kind of language to describe the raises given to teachers? Why is he peddling loaded terms like “historic” and “the largest in a generation?” Why is he pushing the notion that the recent raises make North Carolina “regionally and nationally competitive” when the AVERAGE teacher nationally is paid $56,000 while the TOP of North Carolina’s new pay scale is $50,000?
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