NCAE organizing a ‘teachers’ bill of rights’ for reopening schools

Our Schools NCAE COVID-19 Reopening

RALEIGH – The North Carolina Association of Educators, which operates as a teachers union in North Carolina, has a new effort asking for conditions to be met before their members say they’ll return to public schools in the state.

“By acting together, we have the power to determine the conditions in which we will return to in person instruction. As front line workers who know how best to meet our children’s educational needs, we have the responsibility to ensure we do so safely,” part of the online petition reads.

The petition also blames “privatizers and their supporters in our legislature have been starving our schools to death” and anyone signing the petition agrees to three conditions before returning to classrooms: maintaining at least 2019-20 levels of funding and staffing for the 2020-21 school year, fully funding the requirements for reopening of schools determined by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services as specified in the Strong Schools Public Health Toolkit, and meetings convened by NCAE to dictate conditions of re-entry that respect the concerns of our students, families, and staff concerning safety, healthcare, teaching and learning, racial and economic justice. 

The Durham Association of Educators has gone steps further than NCAE’s state office. In a report from Daily Wire, the DAE’s statement denouncing the school district’s reopening plan called for universal healthcare, as well as guaranteed income regardless of a person’s immigration status.

After claiming “Trump, DeVos, and Berger want schools to open because they care about protecting wealth and big business,” DAE’s statement continued, “There are concrete policies that have permitted other countries to flatten the curve and return to public life: moratoriums on rent and mortgage, universal health care, direct income support regardless of immigration status.”

“We must fight together, collectively, for changes that will permit our communities to thrive during this pandemic and beyond,” the statement added before linking to a petition.

Teachers across the state have balked at Gov. Roy Cooper’s Plan B decision, leading dozens of school districts to postpone in-person instruction. 

In a press release sent Friday, state Sen. Deanna Ballard (R-Watauga) said, “For nearly a decade the Republicans in the General Assembly have methodically and thoughtfully increased education spending. Now, facing the reality of a recession, instead of furloughing teachers and cutting education budgets like the North Carolina Democrats did during the last recession, we’ve held the line and kept education funding steady, provided pay raises and bonuses for teachers.”

The release also points to nearly $96 million appropriated by the General Assembly that remains unspent by Gov. Roy Cooper.

Many of the state’s school districts have voted since Gov. Roy Cooper’s Tuesday announcement to opt for Plan C, the 100% virtual option, instead of Plan B, which blends in-person and remote learning.