Sen. Curtis: no regrets about harsh email to NC teacher, says more than 40 lawmakers agree with him

Earlier this month, Sen. David Curtis (R-Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln) wrote what many regarded as a harsh email in response to a frustrated teacher’s letter to the General Assembly about teacher pay in North Carolina.

Senator David Curtis

Senator David Curtis

Curtis’ response to the teacher, who admonished the General Assembly for making false promises to raise teacher pay, included admonishing her for her bad attitude and pointed to what he believed to be were perks of the job that she was overlooking.

Those perks included eight weeks paid vacation (teachers are actually not paid for those eight weeks; they are 10-month employees) and a defined retirement contribution plan that guarantees her $35,000 for life (your retirement benefit is actually 1.82% of your average final compensation multiplied by how many years you have given to the state).

Curtis’ response sparked an Internet firestorm, and the Mooresville Tribune checked in with Curtis to get his reaction to the kerfuffle he caused.

Those comments and others in the email inflamed teachers around the state and prompted scores of critical emails and letters to Curtis. But the senator, a native of Mooresville, isn’t taking anything back.

In fact, he said many of his colleagues in Raleigh have told him they agreed with him.

“One positive is that this has increased my stature with the legislature,” Curtis told the Mooresville Tribune. “At least 40 legislators have told me ‘What you said was right on the money.’ ”

Read the full story over at the Mooresville Tribune here.

24 Comments

  1. Rob Lawson

    May 23, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    This guy is a clown, and it’s too bad that he has 40 other blithering idiots cheering him on. Notice that they didn’t stick their necks out and make comments in the media though. As educators, we are totaly screwed in this backwards state. Seriously, his facts are all wrong yet 40 other dimwits agree with him. And he thinks his stature has increased? We shall see, my friend, we shall see…it is a bad sign for the future of education in this old state, but hey somebody has to make Mississippi look good!!

  2. J. Gibson

    May 23, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    At what point will the media draw voter attention to the moronic comments of this elected official? Not only does he not have a clue what efforts it takes to survive as a teacher, he continues to open his mouth to prove he’s an idiot.

  3. O boy!

    May 23, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Arrogance and ignorance are a terrible mix.

  4. Elaine Norton

    May 23, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    I am a veteran teacher who just worked 46 hours this week, and that is way under what others I work with worked. Do you think we get paid for all those extra hours? And about my two months off in the summer, I haven’t been paid for those in my 29 years of service. We are ten month employees paid for ten months of work. What irritates me the most about any of our “representatives” (not), is that there probably isn’t one single one of them who would do our jobs, or any job really, with as little as a 2% raise in the past five years. We teach because we believe what we do is important and many of us feel it is our calling. We are only asking for better pay to allow us to pay our bills and maybe have a little left over for a one week trip in the summer when we AREN’T GETTING PAID!

  5. Wayne Upchurch

    May 23, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    It is becoming more and more difficult to respect the term, “legislator”. For me, that term used to suggest legal awareness and at least some sense of responsibility to serve the whole population that it is writing laws for, if not a smidgen of “moral high ground”. To suggest, though not necessarily to mean.
    This rush to quash the notion of respect for all people and to first, ignore, then denigrate anyone who disagrees with them has confirmed some of the worst stereotypes. . . they behave like the very caricatures that they would have said were groundless, if asked.
    It’s as if they, in a desire to gain “stature”, looked to political cartoons for inspirations about how to behave.

  6. Ric Fritz

    May 23, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    I am a retired educator. I have a minimum of 18 semester hours each of university physics, chemistry, biology, the earth sciences , and more than 40 sem. Hours of sculpture studios specializing in bronze casting to boot. Add ro this all the hours of education and general studies courses and I have approx. 212 sem. Hours of college education. Oh , then a three year master degree in education administration and curriculum development . I put about 20 years in the classroom. my only advice to any college student today in North Carolina is this. Get your degree and get the hell out of this state. Of somewhere that is governed by people. The peofession is a worthy and proud one, however when dealing with those who hate educated people as do republicans ( educated people tend almost to the individual to vote democratic) those who can teach are treated with distain. Those who are in the gen. Ass. Could neither teach or learn. As is evidenced by their inability to understand that to have a successful school system they will have to pay enough to keep highly educated people in the state.

  7. Ric Fritz

    May 23, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    Sorry for typos, I’m used to the f.b. Edit process. It doesn’t seem to work here.

  8. Steve Body

    May 23, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    Y’know, speaking as a transplanted North Carolinian…now trhat I have twenty+ years living in Seattle, watching the asinine, sub-standard behavior of these people in the NC legislature – behavior which infuriated me when I lived back there – now just seems small and petty and sad. What a tiny little nothing of a human being is this Curtis yahoo. Just look at the photo: a textbook example of the smiley, smug, self-satisfied Carolina redneck who never thinks past the end of his nose. So, he figured out how to glad-hand and say all the right angry, self-righteous slogans of his party and parlayed that into a paid gig in Raleigh. And now he’s laboring so mightily to impose upon North Carolinians a set of values that are already twenty years behind the times and doomed to failure before he even starts collecting a pension. Knuckleheads like him never Get It: that their brand of throw-back conservatism hasn’t really worked in their own lifetimes and this pathetic efforts to turn the calendar back to 1955 failed even before Reagan left office. It’s only a matter of time before dinosaurs like Curtis die off and then, finally, reason and sanity can return to North Carolina governance. This is inevitable as tomorrow’s sunrise. Guys like Curtis think they’re such hot stuff but I can assure you, Dave, that, even two inches beyond the borders of NC, you’re seen as nothing but a cheap clown and a very minor speed bump along the path to a FAR better future than your nonsense could ever deliver. Enjoy your little micro-iota of “power” and “influence” and just be thankful that there are – temporarily, anyway – just enough idiots in NC to get you into office…but not nearly enough to give your antics any lasting effect.

  9. Jeana Borman

    May 25, 2014 at 10:37 am

    I just want to know when he has darkened the door of an elementary school….. Really, gone and spent a day.

  10. Brent

    May 25, 2014 at 11:02 am

    This explains why North Carolina can not seem to move forward. It’s because of the backwards thinking, uninformed leaders, and lack of compassion demonstrated by this man that holds us last in many respects. However, I am not ashamed to say, “I am a teacher.” I teach in a state that continues to cut our budget, I teach in a state that has outdated text books, and resources. I am proud to say that I walk in those doors everyday and I do my best with what I have. I teach past the limits that I am put in, I teach through the criticism my profession is given. I teach for the students that show up each day. I teach so that our next generations of leaders will not make the same mistakes as our current leaders have. Thank you leaders of NC for providing me with relevant, real examples for my students. Now they know exactly what not to be. I teach to implement change. Thank you NC for the challenging me each day.

  11. Anne McLean

    May 25, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Would Senator Curtis please give us the names of those 40 legislators that he says told him his comments were “right on the money”? We need to know their names, too.

  12. Bobby Padgett

    May 25, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    Until people are willing to step up so that clowns like Curtis and his 40 friends cannot develop a superiority complex by running unopposed this crap will never cease.

  13. Angel Bostic

    May 25, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    I have worked for 36 yrs. as an Instructional Teachers Assistant. I am not paid in the summer because I do NOT make enough money to even do 12 months so I have nothing in the summer to live off of but my husband and if he makes no salse then we have no money?? I could do 12 months and get a check in the summer but I make below POVERTY to even live on. He has to pay all the bills so if no one buys anything he gets no check so the bills go un paid okay?? All Instructional Assistant’s should get a decent pay check to live on in the summer just like you do. Insurance is taken out of my poverty check for June and July so how do you expect me to live on $23,000 a year and all you GOP people do is ask for more taxes on people so how can I SURVIVE in the summer??
    School starts late so I use to get a check in June due to early starting so I could make it until I went back to work but now it is not possible to even feed my kids okay. Can you help me, can you give me a contribution to help me until schools starts back in August?? I try to save but I make nothing but I Love working with kids. I help them read, Math, etc. TA’s WEAR Thousands of hats in a school each day to help kids succeed. We have to proctor for EOG test and no one even gives us a check to do that because that takes us away from our Teachers who are doing so many test right now on all 25 kids in a room as well as we are helping them out? We are stressed out and no one gives us a pat on the back from Raleigh either. Our kids do well on test also. We have to stand on our feet for over 3 hrs. with no break until they are finished and that’s not FAIR to TA’s? We have many duties and we are ALWAYS late leaving work because Parents do not know how to tell time?? You need to make Parents more RESPONSIBLE for picking up kids on time from schools??
    Where is our checks from Raleigh for that since we make NOTHING to live on. Some of us have to work 3 or more jobs just to SURVIVE; do you and the rest in Raleigh?? Think about us because we have not had a RAISE in Years???

  14. Bill Busshart

    May 25, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    It is apparent that teachers are not respected in North Carolina. If you are teaching or plan to teach, I would suggest going to another state. Senator Curtis is actually proud of his comments and feels he has the support of his colleagues. I would love to see Curtis try to teach for one week and have the media follow him. Give him a regular classroom of about 28 students and have him teach the curriculum for just a week, that’s all!

  15. Jim Wiseman

    May 26, 2014 at 11:36 am

    At what point will these whiney government employees get another job, like anyone else not pleased with their working conditions?

  16. Jim Wiseman

    May 26, 2014 at 11:37 am

    At what point will these whiney government employees get another job, like anyone else not pleased with their working conditions?

  17. Jim Wiseman

    May 26, 2014 at 11:37 am

    At what point will these whiney government employees get another job, like anyone else not pleased with their working conditions?

  18. Danny Reece

    May 26, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Private is inherently preferable to public, in conservative ideology. Bleeding public schools to the point of death in regards to performance is exactly the goal. Private education industry is salivating at the prospect of getting larger slice of the public dollar and lobby accordingly. Our conservative legishaters get the added bonus of punishing the teacher’s groups who historically support liberal candidates. They also get to wave the private alternatives in front of minority groups as a lure for votes. We can rant and call them buffoons all we want, but they are winning. They will continue to win so long as shrillness and demonstration are the only replies from their opposition.

  19. Sandy Rogers

    May 26, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    Then that makes 41 people believing untruths. What he said in his original email was mostly incorrect. I know because I am a retired teacher. My husband and I reared a family on two teaching salaries.

  20. Alan

    May 26, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    By “whiney government employees”, I assume you mean Sen. David Curtis and his ilk?

  21. Jack

    May 27, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Jim’s way of thinking is that whiney groups like the black community, the gay community, the United Farm Workers of America, the Teamsters, the AFL-CIO and the list goes on should all be glad for what they have or find a new place to live. Jim and his ilk are people who have theirs and couldn’t care less about others. Such narrow mindedness is to be pitied.

  22. phil tripken

    May 27, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Wow! I didn’t know I get paid weeks off in the summer! I would have quit my job as a New York cop years ago to work here in North Carolina and make all of this money! Just because a person gets voted in to office doesn’t mean his ideas and words are facts. How about some of your facts. How much money do you make and how many raises have you received over the past 6 years? Are you working with a contract that has been violated? Oh that’s right, you probably voted to violate the teacher’s contract. How many “friends” have you taken care of in the business word that you are gaining profit from? Let’s put your “contract” or job to a vote and cut your pay and treat you like a second class citizen. Oh, by the way, I’m standing behind what I’m saying although if I was ignorant like you, I would be saying a lot worse and not showing any class!!!

  23. Cassie

    May 28, 2014 at 9:17 am

    BRING A SENATOR TO WORK WEEK! I’ve been saying this needs to happen at public schools for years.

  24. Mary Spon

    May 29, 2014 at 10:11 am

    To this state Senator: I think you don’t understand what teacher tenure actually means. What it means, in a nutshell, is simple due process and nothing more. It means that if you are going to fire a teacher, you must have cause. Cause would include incompetence, insubordination, child abuse, and a of couple other things. If a teacher is underperforming, the principal can use the current evaluation process to prove/show that’s the case and that teacher can be fired. Having “tenure” doesn’t prevent that from happening. What it does prevent is teachers being fired based on no evidence of any of the above-mentioned causes. What’s so heinous about that? I think it’s simply “playing fair”, which is what we all want our children to do, right?