From the 2013 Mountain Moral Monday protest in Asheville - WWNC
The single issue motivating the most amount of people to protest as part of the so-called "Moral Monday" movement was teacher pay.
Yes, there were plenty of other activists with their causes - some with fairly large followings. But THE issue that got the most people fired up was teacher pay.
Which makes sense.
Most everyone has been to a public school, has a kid in one, has a family member in one, or knows someone who works for one.
Let that sink in.
In only 12 of the state's 100 counties is the public school system NOT among the top two employers.
As a result - everyone has an opinion on education and teacher pay.
Eliminating voter pre-registration 16 year olds.... not so much.
And this is why the budget deal announced yesterday by Republican legislative leaders is going to impact the MoMo turnout.
(Except in Asheville next week, where constant protesting is embedded in the collectivist DNA.)
It's never enough
We still don't have all the details of the $21.3 billion budget deal, but Republicans are touting an average 7% pay raise for teachers.
Teachers will get an pay raise that amounts to 7 percent on average this year. The budget also boosts early career teacher pay to a minimum of $35,000 per year by the 2015-16 school year..
Teaching assistants and other non-certified school employees are due to get a $500 pay raise under the plan, while rank-and-file state employees would get a $1,000 pay raise and five bonus vacation days, the lawmakers said.
This might come as a shock - but the NC teachers union... er... I mean ASSOCIATION is not happy.
The NC Association of Educators says the pay bumps are disrespectful. (I'm not sure if it's more or less disrespectful than the ZERO pay raises they got under the previous Democratic leadership.)
Speaking of which...
Of course it's not.
Just like the national rankings of average teacher pay doesn't represent an across-the-board measurement of all employees' compensation.
But my favorite...
This is sorta' how budgeting works.
I suspect it's this level of misunderstanding and partisan hackery that has led to a rapid decline of the NCAE membership.
From the John Locke Foundation:
The NCAE had one of the largest membership declines of any NEA affiliate in the nation. Since 2008-09, active NCAE membership dropped by over 38 percent. Total membership, which includes retirees, students, substitutes and others, declined by nearly 30 percent. Only Wisconsin and Arizona affiliates had larger decreases in active and total membership.
According to Antonucci, the NCAE had around 29,600 active members and over 43,000 total members last year.
So if the Moral Monday organizers want to claim credit for inducing the GOP to raise teacher pay, what happens now that raises have been achieved?
Will the teachers, students, and education activists still turn out to protest fracking rules? Voter ID?
Well... maybe the media can help the Moral Mondayers with some generous crowd estimates again.