Oh, if the General Assembly were a sailboat, and it was launching from Hatteras, it could hit London thanks to the huffing and puffing over Republicans’ generosity to public school teachers.
After years of bashing public schools and teachers and doing all they could to smack the people’s education system around, GOP leaders now proclaim themselves great friends of teachers and boast of raises they’re planning that would lift the state out of the 40s in terms of national pay rankings.
Lordy, when do we start the parade?
We thus can only imagine the recruiting letter that will go out to those who might be seeking work as school teachers here in Tar Heelia. (This, even though the state’s schools of education report sharp drops in enrollment and the whole HB2 thing has made us, in some circles, about as popular as Donald Trump on Cinco De Mayo.)
Anyway, a draft version of our breathless recruiting letter:
“Dear Prospective Teacher,
“We of the North Carolina General Assembly, Republican majority division, want to share with you the tremendous benefits awaiting those who want to teach in North Carolina. Your starting salary will be a breathtaking $35,000. The impact your purchases will have on jewelry stores and Mercedes dealerships will help all local economies. We just hope you will put something aside for your beach houses.
“And, in a matter of a few years, by golly, thanks to we Republicans, your salary ranking nationwide is going to rise out of the lower 10 states! Oh, sure, that fellow Jim Hunt once got you to the national average, but then businesses and multi-millionaires were paying far too much in taxes. You can understand that.
“Now if you have a master’s degree, good for you. But we don’t believe in giving people who earn advanced degrees more money. Next thing you know you’ve got a doctorate and want to become a communist professor over there in Chapel Hill.
“Oh, and we’re not sure about teachers’ assistants down the road. For goodness sakes, at $35,000, you’ll be handsomely compensated if classes grow to 35 or 40 kids because of the coming teacher shortage. That’s almost a thousand bucks a kid for 10 months’ work, and you’ll pick up some extra long green working at Costco over the summer and tutoring at night during the school year!
“Now Prospective Teacher, you understand that you will have students who have family difficulties, and not much parental support, and inadequate clothes, and you’ll have affluent kids who have everything. We expect you to educate all these kids and that they will also emerge from your class with sterling test scores — all of them.
“Along the way, you’ll have to spend, oh, a couple of thousand bucks a year on supplies for your classroom. But at $35,000, it’s not as if you’re not going to have plenty of fun money lying around, and the way we look at it, it’s good if teachers have to “invest” in their school. Also, in addition to your classroom duties, you’ll serve as a family counselor and psychologist.
“You’ve probably read that we believe in vouchers for people to send their kids to private school, money we take from public schools; and we like charters on account of Democrats don’t, even though they don’t have to follow the rules you regular teachers do.
“And one final thing: Don’t get the idea that we’re going to be laying out the big money on you every year. This year is special, because we love teachers, and because we happen to be running for re-election, when people like to show us they love us.
“But just think: You’ll be able to boast to teachers around the country, a least for a while, that your salaries are in the top 40 states in the country! But pay no mind to those states in the top five where teachers make $90,000. Trust us. Cost of living eats it up. You’re better off here.”
Commentary by The News & Observer and distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.