Sen. David Curtis has done a great disservice to the teachers of this state by telling a Charlotte science teacher, Sarah Wiles, who complained of having gone many years without a pay increase, that if she didn’t like the way the Legislature has treated her profession, she should just leave teaching and find another career.
The Legislature just doesn’t seem to get it. They give the wealthy few enormous tax breaks, that will amount to over $2.4 billion dollars over the next five years, then cut public education by over a half billion dollars to help pay for it. But don’t dare criticize them. Because if you do, Sen. Curtis will send you a reply laced with sarcasm and Speaker Thom Tillis will call you a “whiner and complainer.”
If you are a teacher, you know you already pay for classroom materials for your students out of your own pocket. You work past midnight grading papers. If you’re like my sister, you spend the month of August creating lesson plans. You work second jobs trying to earn money for your family because your Legislators, who could not teach their way out of a paper bag, seem content to put North Carolina at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to teacher pay.
As a candidate for the Legislature, I have talked with many teachers in Lincoln County. Some have had to resort to food stamps, and some have been in danger of losing their homes. My niece, a fourth grade teacher, has had to abandon her plans of getting a Master’s Degree. The unconstitutional attempt to do away with their right to have a hearing prior to dismissal has caused many to be afraid to complain. But this is the very time for them, along with like-minded parents, to stand up and do exactly that. They are the voters, and that makes them the boss of people like Sen. Curtis.
Shakespeare wrote these words for “Julius Caesar,” which have stood me in good stead since learning them in High School English: “Screw your courage to the sticking point!” There are tens of thousands of public school teachers in this state. Together, they have a mighty voice.
Remember this African proverb: “It is easy to break a stick alone. But if you put that stick in a bundle of sticks, it will never break.” I suspect that is why Senator Curtis had such disparaging remarks to say about the N.C. Association of Educators. Perhaps he and others like him are afraid of what they could do. Parents, join your children’s teachers. Together we can make a mighty roar heard all the way to Raleigh.
Democratic Candidate for NC House District 97