Vol.#36: My Letter to Pat McCrory [Guest Post]

Monday, our State Superintendent June Atkinson released this statement with this opening line:

“For the first time in my career of more than 30 years in public education, I am truly worried about students in our care.”

Image Credit: Garry KnightWednesday, the NC House and Senate approved the budget and sent it to Governor McCrory.

NCAE has a list of Top 10 Things Every Educator Should Know About the Budget and created and released this video about tomorrow’s final Moral Monday rally. Important stuff.

However, since the big picture data and powers-that-be have not seemed to slow our legislature, I thought this week’s post needed a different tactic. My department chair and colleague, Emily Blake, has written a brilliant letter to the Governor and is allowing me to share it here as a guest post on TSVI’d hoped hearing from one teacher and constituent who voted for him twice would at least give the Governor pause. However, he already signed the budget into law Friday.

Governor McCrory,

Since I was a little girl, I dreamed of being a teacher, and I have dedicated my entire life to realize that dream. I graduated top of my class in high school and summa cum laude at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I am a fourth year teacher, a NC Teaching Fellow, and a technology contact and the language arts department chair for my school. I love the students I teach, have high growth in my EOG test scores, and work with some of the most dedicated and intelligent people in our state.

When I was first hired and was told my salary, I made grandiose plans to save $500 a month. After the first month of teaching, I had less than $20 in my bank account, and needless to say, nothing in my savings account. After purchasing supplies for my classroom, paying my student loan bills, and paying rent, I realized how little I actually made. Not to mention, my first year of teaching I did not leave school until the janitor set the alarm at 8:30 at night (which means that I was working 12 hour days). I justified putting my personal life and savings plan on hold because I felt like I was making a difference in my students’ lives.

While I still believe that I positively impact our future generation on a daily basis, I refuse to remain in a profession that is demonized by lawmakers. Two years ago we began using an evaluation system that logs in with our paystub numbers. On the evaluation, there are absurd standards that require me to care about my students and teach my curriculum. I would not have gone into the profession if I did not have students’ best interest in mind; I want my students to succeed and learn everything I can possibly teach them in 180 days. The budget that is likely to be passed eradicates my chance of tenure at the end of this school year which means I would have to prove every year that I care about my students and adequately teach them. I also have no hope of a raise, despite the rate of inflation. As a “professional”, that is a slap in the face.

I have watched my colleagues who are close to retirement break down and cry about how they cannot afford to retire with how little they make due to the lack of raises in the past several years. I can no longer rationalize the sacrifices I have made as a teacher in the state of North Carolina. I do not want to end up like my older colleagues who are burnt out, overworked, and vastly underpaid. At the end of this school year, I plan on leaving the profession in order to avoid that fate. Access to effective public education starts with qualified teachers, which will be difficult to find if these legislative trends continue.

In both the 2008 and 2012 elections, I voted for you as a result of your record and success as Charlotte’s mayor. I urge you to veto the budget and any other legislation that would once again make us the “Rip Van Winkle State”.

Sincerely,

Emily Blake

8 thoughts on “Vol.#36: My Letter to Pat McCrory [Guest Post]”

  1. I have begun an archive of teacher’s resignations letters, at least those I have been able to find on the web so far but we know there are hundreds more. The archive is at http://www.resignnc.org. If you would like to share with me the reasons you are resigning from a position as a NC educator, please email me through the site. Our general assembly and governor need to know.

    Also, because the post didn’t mention this, McCrory signed the budget into law Friday. Hope to see everyone in Raleigh Monday!

    1. Pam,

      Thanks so much for your comment, information, and link. I will find a link to the Governor’s signing on Friday and update the post asap! Many Thanks!

      ~Erica

  2. Pingback: Emily Blake
  3. I am right behind you! Please know regardless of how despicable the man, and most politicians, are they are not stupid people. The decline of Education in the US is by design. The powers to be like things just the way they are and do not need an educated populace to challenge that power. BTW I am a wake teacher with 2 masters and my wife in a TA. We are struggling big time to make ends meet. As I have looked for employment elsewhere I have come to realize that my 15 years as a teacher is valued by nobody.You are all aware that the decline of Education in the US is by design. The powers to be like things just the way they are and do not need an educated populace.

  4. Your commentary here on the dismal state of education in NC is right on the money. I have also blogged a letter of my own to all the anti-education politicians and taxpayers out there. I must say, I’m fairly certain that well-worded pleas are falling on deaf ears, but it’s the only way I know to make my point. Thank you for doing the same.

    http://eduscribble.wordpress.com

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