I read Tessa Pendley’s rant, “N.C. teachers scorn GOP’s duplicity on pay raises” in the Dec. 29 edition of the News & Record and thought a couple of her arguments needed to be challenged.
She was too quick to unjustly blame Republicans for everything that is wrong with education and let the governor and the Democrats off too easily. Apparently, part of educational training is to memorize the chant, “More money, blame Republicans.”
Guilford County educators were treated very well in this year’s budget that was passed in bipartisan fashion by Democrats and Republicans. However, when the governor vetoed the budget, the Democrats, who had previously supported it, chose to shamelessly resort to partisan politics and not vote for a veto override. Teachers could have, indeed, had a happier holiday if not for the Democrats.
N.C. teacher pay has increased substantially nationally. The Republican-led General Assembly has provided teacher pay raises six years in a row, increasing teacher pay by 20%. North Carolina already spends 57% of its budget on education.
Instead of blaming Republicans, teachers need to look at the real source of their claim of inadequate funding — educational administrators. This overpaid, bloated group are poor stewards of taxpayers’ money. There is no accountability for inefficiency and failure. Just blame lack of funds and demand more money.
Millions of dollars are siphoned off the top before they get to the front lines in the classroom. Many teachers I have talked to agree with this but say they fear reprisals if they speak out. Democrats and Republicans need to seriously address this issue, from Raleigh to the various counties.
I was a teacher for 30 years. I was constantly criticized for not being a “team player” because I complained about wasting money. I left the business world to become a teacher because I felt it was a “calling.” This was my choice.
I never felt underpaid. I raised a family and have the comforts of a good home. I received excellent health benefits and a retirement fund that I am now enjoying. Everyone has a choice when he or she chooses to become a teacher. If you do it for the pay, you’ve made the wrong choice and should move on.
But I never felt underpaid for the joy, honor, privilege and reward of inspiring young people to learn.