If you want to get an idea of what teachers in North Carolina have had to put up with since the Republicans took full control of state government, WUNC, the NPR member station for the Triangle, has a lulu of an example. Last week, Sarah Wiles, a science teacher from Charlotte, fired off an email to the entire North Carolina General Assembly which called for the legislature to back up its talk about how appreciated teachers are by increasing their pay. North Carolina, for those who don't know, is fourth from the bottom in the nation in average pay for its teachers. The state's teachers haven't had a raise in six years.
Yesterday, she got a reply from David Curtis, a state senator who represents some of Charlotte's northern suburbs near Lake Norman. In so many words, Curtis called Wiles an ingrate.
Since you naturally do not want to remain in a profession of which you are ashamed, here are my suggestions for what you should tell your potential new private sector employer:Curtis is not only a pompous jerk, but he's also wrong. For one thing, there is no "teachers union" in North Carolina. The state constitution bars state employees from bargaining collectively. Curtis was referring to the North Carolina Association of Educators, which is just a professional association--and one that only represents one-third of the state's teachers. Yet, it's pretty much an article of faith among North Carolina teabaggers that the NCAE is a union. Moreover, like most states, those eight weeks of vacation are unpaid--so teachers have to make 10 months of pay stretch out over an entire year.
1. You expect to make a lot more than you made as a teacher because everyone knows how poorly compensated teachers are.
2. You expect at least eight weeks paid vacation per year because that is what the taxpayers of North Carolina gave you back when you were a poorly compensated teacher
3. You expect a defined contribution retirement plan that will guarantee you about $35,000 per year for life after working 30 years even if you live to be 104 years old. Your employer will need to put about $16,000 per year into your retirement plan each year combined with your $2,000 contribution for the next 30 years to achieve this benefit. If he objects, explain to him that a judge has ruled that the taxpayers of North Carolina must provide this benefit to every public school teacher. Surely your new employer wants to give better benefits than the benefits you received as a poorly compensated teacher.
4. Your potential employer may tell you that he has heard that most North Carolina workers make less than the national average because we are a low cost-of-living- state, private sector workers making 87% of the national average and teachers making 85% of the national average. Tell him that may be true, but to keep that confidential because the teachers union has convinced parents that teachers are grossly undercompensated based on a flawed teachers union survey of teacher pay.
Just for ha-ha's, I did some digging--and Curtis is completely unopposed for reelection. His district is so red that it would be an extremely heavy lift for a Democrat in any event. That doesn't mean he can't be called out for his inaccurate and condescending email. Tell him what you think on his Facebook page.