Editorial: Senate leader needs to listen to teachers, stop belittling them

While political pundits continue to debate the success of Monday’s teacher walk-in, the Wilmington Star News says it’s time for Senate President Phil Berger to stop berating educators and actually listen to them. Here’s their Wednesday editorial:

‘North Carolina doesn’t have a teachers union, and Phil Berger knows it. The word “union” implies that teachers have the right to collective bargaining and the right to strike for better working conditions – neither is permitted under state law. Yet the Senate president pro tem insisted on deriding Monday’s event in support of public education as union activity.


Senator Phil Berger

Berger, R-Rockingham, and his like-minded political colleagues apparently believe that the only “right” teachers have is the right to sit quietly and take it when the Honorables and the governor attempt to “improve” public education by adopting policies that punish and demoralize the professionals who are in the best position to put those improvements into practice.

Berger went after the N.C. Association of Educators, which he believes was behind the push for a “walk-in” staged at many schools across the state, including in the Cape Fear region. There were numerous variations on the theme, from an organized gathering around the flagpole to a simple show of support by dressing in red.

He and like-minded lawmakers chose to assail the event as “bully tactics.” But it is teachers who have felt bullied of late, what with a new law that takes away tenure by 2018, arbitrarily decides that only 25 percent of teachers deserve a $500 raise – and only then if they give up tenure early – and removes the financial incentive for teachers to pursue advanced degrees.

New Hanover County school board member Tammy Covil expressed concern that the event could be interpreted as political. Most teachers didn’t see it that way. Regardless of whether it could be construed as political in some way, it would be counterproductive to attempt to punish teachers who participated.

This was a show of frustration, but also a tangible way to show how many people are working with our children every day – despite the challenges.

The reality in most places was different from what Berger and his allies described. While a social media campaign for a walkout was initially planned, it turned into a “walk-in” – teachers, other school employees, parents, volunteers and even some students across the state staged assorted variations on the theme.

At schools in the Cape Fear region, the event consisted mainly of wardrobe statements, as teachers and administrators wore red in a show of solidarity. A few schools had short gatherings before school, so as not to take away from instructional time. Some participants took the opportunity to state why they went into teaching. Most considered it an upbeat and positive event.

For his part, Gov. Pat McCrory was more conciliatory, noting that teachers have some legitimate concerns and complaints. (However, he did sign the legislation that prompted Monday’s walk-in.) He also announced formation of a teacher advisory council, with four members from the Cape Fear region, which was to meet Tuesday.

If McCrory and lawmakers actually listen, they may hear some very good suggestions. Teachers are on the front lines every day, dealing with problems that many politicians can’t even begin to imagine. The good ones – and they represent more than 25 percent of the workforce – know where problems exist, and they often have some creative answers for addressing them.

Imagine! An attempt to enlist teachers in the ongoing effort to improve public education in North Carolina. It boggles the mind.’


  1. ML

    November 6, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    The walkout was started by individual teachers using social media to gather support from educators across the state. The “union” that they speak of encouraged a walkin instead, yet some how they are labeled bullies for encouraging teachers not to walkout. Boggles the mind indead…

  2. GOP Rules

    November 6, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    The union latched on to the walkin as they thought they saw the opportunity to get more power. Just like every other union organization would in the same situation. It does boggle the mind that they would try to do so when they cannot officially become a true union (thank goodness).

  3. Alan

    November 6, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    GOP Rules/Doogie/LSD/NWC,

    Sorry, but I have to remind you that ML and I are not the same person. I guess we can now add the Teachers Association to your paranoid enmy list?

    PS. They aren’t a union.

  4. ML

    November 6, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    GOP, the Teacher’s Association is not a union and thus advised the teachers that a walkout would violate their contract status and therefore would not be the most advisable action to raise awareness of the plight teachers face in this state. Instead they offered an alternative and in no way acted in differently than any other business association or Bar association in coordinating for the best interest of those that they represent. Still not a Union, but had they been a union and been allowed collective bargaining rights they would have been able to strike but they did not because of the Teachers Association that you so despise. BTW Unions are the only way us lowly serfs can leverage against the power money buys in government.

    I am not Alan, I simply used his name to show how simple it is to post under different pseudonyms and thus not a sole on this site believes that you are not the same troll posting under different pseudonyms. Since Alan is in fact not me and has been a regular poster here (and for a longer period of time) I thought it might be demonstrate how simple it is to change and post under different names so that it appears that your views are more widely held, even for a site such as this.

    Sorry Alan I should have ran this by you first.

  5. wncgirl

    November 6, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Ha! I am not Alan or ML. I have however been kicked off the propaganda site Civitas many times for using pesky facts. Union bashers are simply boot-lickers. They wait for something to trickle down on them from above rather than face actually working for a living. I would be willing to wager LSD or Doogie is on the dole. In my county the majority of welfare recipients are Republican… go figure.

  6. SockPuppet #1

    November 6, 2013 at 4:43 pm


    No problem! I concur with your thinking 100%. The trolls and sockpuppets are pretty obvious. It’s quite funny to see the exact same verbiage come from them, perhaps trying to create the impression there’s a “sea change” happening here in NC, by their numerous postings. The Talibaggers must be pretty desperate when they reach out here to convince us underlings that ‘Talibagging is the Way’.

    Alan (dba SockPuppet #1)

  7. GOP Rules

    November 8, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Glad to see you spent a few hours betwen posts this time. Too bad you “both” posted the exact same post a few weeks ago only one minute apart. Your denial holds no water.

    And ML, the same holds true for you in that you are in fact the same person. At the time of the post you spoke to no motive such as enacting multiple personalities. You just made an error in which personality you chose at that point.

    I ask the administrators then…..am I posting from the same IP address as the LSD guy? These are the people who can settle that. It is very easy to do.

  8. GOP Rules

    November 8, 2013 at 10:59 am

    That is amusing however how you talk to yourself. I hope it does not regularly happen in areas outside the internet forum.

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