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Soucek’s education forum in Watauga County draws shouts, laughter

Dan Soucek held an education forum in Watauga County last night — and it wasn’t pretty.

The Watauga Democrat reports that Soucek, who shared a panel with former Teacher of the Year Darcy Grimes and Watauga County Board of Education Member Ron Henries, among others, was frequently interrupted with shouts and laughter in response to his explanations for the General Assembly’s decision to curb education spending and freeze teachers’ salaries last summer.

Soucek requested that no one film the event. You can see evidence of the clamp-down over at High Country Press’ website, where photos chronicle Watauga County GOP chair Anne-Marie Yates blocking someone from taking video with her hands.

A sheriff’s deputy removed one person from the room prior to the forum’s conclusion.

Watauga County Teacher of the Year Katie Matthews needled Soucek on the new teacher contract system, which would reward the top 25 percent of teachers with 4-year contracts worth $500 bonuses annually.

Soucek said they desired a plan that would reward the best teachers, not just all teachers across the board. He characterized it as a first step in the right direction, one that gives local boards discretion.

“In the end, no one is worse off, and some people are better off,” Soucek said to a unified shout of “wrong” from the crowd.

UPDATE: Read this eyewitness’ account of the meeting here. According to that story, Soucek responded to North Carolina being 46th in the nation in teacher pay with “some of that rhetoric is just overblown.”

8 Comments

  1. Gene Hoglan

    December 6, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    A fat, angry white lady getting in some kid’s face to keep him from exercising his constitutional right.

    Republicans.jpg

  2. JWW

    December 6, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Another eye witness account of what went down last night: http://blog.wataugawatch.net/2013/12/eye-witness-account-of-sen-souceks.html.

  3. Jim Wiseman

    December 6, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    Civility of the left on parade.

  4. david esmay

    December 6, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Ignorance of the right on parade. 14,000 teachers left the state or the profession last year out of frustration and the GOPer’s attack on public education.

  5. Alan

    December 6, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    What can $500 get you in Watauga County? I sure hope those nasty “government school” educrats don’t go wasting all that money on drugs.

  6. Alan

    December 6, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    Soucek asked that nobody film the event. Does he have any legal authority to do so? What is he afraid of?

  7. Frances Jenkins

    December 6, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    I love how these educators followed the path of Nelson Mandela. Not!

  8. Booneite

    December 7, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    N.C. General Statute § 143-318.14 – Broadcasting or recording meetings.

    (a) Except as herein below provided, any radio or television station is entitled to broadcast all or any part of a meeting required to be open. Any person may photograph, film, tape?record, or otherwise reproduce any part of a meeting required to be open.
    (b) A public body may regulate the placement and use of equipment necessary for broadcasting, photographing, filming, or recording a meeting, so as to prevent undue interference with the meeting.
    However, the public body must allow such equipment to be placed within the meeting room in such a way as to permit its intended use, and the ordinary use of such equipment shall not be declared to constitute undue interference