Remember who gutted education

September 9, 2013

I am a teacher of 12 years. I am proud of my profession and prouder of the students.

I have been through the ABCs of public education, No Child Left Behind. I have taught sixth, seventh and eighth graders, volunteered for extra duties, advised student organizations, kept score at athletic events and counseled students.

For about six years now, teacher pay in North Carolina has stagnated. Now, many teachers can barely afford to keep their bills paid.

Teachers are the backbone of this society. We are responsible for the future of our communities, states and nation. It feels like the government has turned its back on our future to save a few dollars. I will not turn by back on this profession or my students; I suppose it is because of many others like me that we are being taken advantage of. Many of those who make the laws rely on our compassion and conviction, knowing that those of us who care will stay around regardless of our poor salaries.

Now, things have gone too far. The General Assembly has cut funding for salary increases for attaining a master’s degree, stripped teachers of their rights to due process, and completely gutted the NC Teaching Fellows program. Additionally, they are now taking public money from public education to send it to private and charter schools.

I want to commend Sen. Michael Walters and Reps. Ken Waddell, Charles Graham and Garland Pierce for voting “no” on the General Assembly’s newest budget. Our legislative delegation is pro-public education and fought valiantly for teachers and students. I do hope that our citizens will remember those who turned their back on our state’s children in November on election day.

Jamie Burney