Raleigh – In two days, thousands of teachers will march on Raleigh for the second time in two years, hoping to convince lawmakers to put our teachers, students, and public education before tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. While Republicans have attacked this week’s rally as a “Marxist” event, pushed new budget language to block future rallies, and tried to deceive teachers with “smoke and mirrors” proposals, North Carolina Democrats have been fighting for our educators, our public schools, and our children.
Here are the priorities for North Carolina’s teachers and how Democrats’ own proposals stand beside them:
Teachers’ Priority: Expand Medicaid to improve the health of our students and families.
Democrats’ Action: Democrats in the House and Senate signed on to a proposal for clean Medicaid expansion that would increase access to health care for 500,000 North Carolinians.
Teachers’ Priority: Provide enough school librarians, psychologists, social workers, counselors, nurses, and other health professionals to meet the national standard.
Democrats’ Action: Governor Cooper’s proposed budget allocates $40 million to hire more support personnel like nurses, counselors, psychologists, librarians, and social workers – so students and teachers can focus on learning.
Teachers’ Priority: Provide $15 minimum wage for all school personnel, 5 percent raise for all school employees and a five percent cost of living adjustment for retirees.
Democrats’ Action: Under Governor Cooper’s budget, current teachers would see an average pay raise of 9.1% over two years and retirees would receive a two percent cost of living adjustment. On top of that, Rep. Terence Everitt led the way on legislation that would increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour for non-certified school employees like bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and custodians.
Teachers’ Priority: Reinstate state retiree health benefits for teachers who will be hired after 2021.
Democrats’ Action: Democratic Reps. Julie von Haefen, Cynthia Ball, Marvin Lucas, and Pricey Harrison proposed HB 790 to restore retiree health benefits for teachers hired after 2021.
Teachers’ Priority: Restore extra pay for teachers with advanced degrees such as a master’s degree.
Democrats’ Action: Governor Cooper’s proposed budget restores master’s pay for teachers who hold a master’s degree in the subject they teach or earn National Board certification.
“North Carolina Democrats made a promise to listen to teachers and put public education first, and they’re keeping that promise with proposals like expanding Medicaid, restoring master’s pay, and increasing funding for school employees and health professionals,” NCDP Chairman Wayne Goodwin said. “Republicans, on the other hand, attacked teachers, tried to trick them, and now are trying to silence them. Once again, their wrong priorities are hurting our schools and our state.”