NEWS BULLETIN February
NORTH CAROLINA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS
Volume 44, No. 6
NCAE Continues the Fight for Public Education
Campaign Geared to Stamp Out 25% Contract Law Unfair, demoralizing and just plain wrong accurately describes the 25 Percent Contract law passed by the General Assembly during the last legislative session, which has sent teacher morale into a downward spiral. If you’re asking yourself what you can do, NCAE has the answer… join the “Decline to Sign” Campaign. This grassroots campaign is an extension of the lawsuit filed by the Association, and six North Carolina teachers, in December challenging the constitutionality of the repeal of career status. The law mandates that all NC school boards decide which 25 percent of teachers who have been employed full time by their district for at least three consecutive years and rated “proficient” or higher on all standards of a recent summative evaluation will be offered a four-year contract that includes a $500 bonus (compounded each contract year). Teachers who accept this contract will forfeit their due process rights and will lose their career status! They will also lose the bonus and contract if they
transfer to a new school district, will return to their current salary minus the bonus money when the contract ends in 2018 [this is when all teachers will lose career status unless NCAE wins the lawsuit or the law is changed], will automatically be dismissed from their job if they receive below “proficient” on any standard of a summative evaluation while under contract, and become subject to first-year teacher employment provisions. However, you do have a choice – you can refuse the 25 Percent Contract and retain career status, which is the premise of the “Decline to Sign” Campaign, said NCAE President Rodney Ellis. “This situation is critical and we must stand together, united, against this relentless attack on public education. It’s time that we stand up for each other and for our students. But most importantly, it’s time we stand up to the General Assembly and make our voices heard like never before.” On Wednesday, February 5, the Association and the NCAE Organize 20/20 Caucus is coordinating a Statewide Day of Action, and is asking ALL educators to participate by wearing red and holding
signs that include #Decline2Sign along with the school’s name and city. Please take photos of your school’s event and post them to the NCAE Facebook page, www.facebook.com/wearencae. Involving as many educators as possible is important and there are a few things you can do to ensure success. Talk with your colleagues about the 25 Percent Contract law and how it demoralizes the education profession, and facilitate a meeting with colleagues to discuss ways your school can participate in the Day of Action. All of the information you need is available at http://www.ncae.org/ decline2sign/. “This campaign is another step in building the positive momentum that we started several months ago in our fight to defend public education,” Ellis added. “As we grow and transform as an organization, we must continue to organize around issues that threaten our very existence. Slowly but surely progress is being made but we still have a ways to go. Together, let’s take the lead and meet the challenge to preserve this right.”
Updates on Career Status, Voucher Lawsuits Career Status Litigation NCAE and six teachers from across the state filed a lawsuit alleging that the General Assembly’s repeal of career status violates the federal and state constitutions by eliminating basic due process rights for experienced teachers. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that the Career Status Repeal constitutes a taking of property without just compensation and substantially impairs teachers’ contractual rights. The lawsuit seeks a judgment declaring that the Career Status Repeal provisions in the Appropriations Act of 2013 violate the federal and state constitutions. The lawsuit also seeks a court order preventing the implementation and enforcement of the provisions that revoke career status for teachers who have previously earned it and (See NCAE on page 6)
Making Dreams Come True Sets the Stage for the 2014 MLK Scholarship Gala It was truly a time for dreams to come true during the 2014 MLK Jr. Scholarship Gala. The red carpet affair drew members, students and special guests from across the state, who came together to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Winners of the Multicultural Arts Contest were recognized, along with honorees U.S. Senator Kay Hagan, who received the 2014 Excellence in Equity Award, and Ambassador Brian Bowler, who was presented with the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Spirit Award. Here are some of the eveningâ€™s highlights. Photos: Les Todd and Linda Powell-Jones
is Rodney Ell President
President Rodney Ellis and emcee Gerald Owens congratulate U.S.Senator Kay Hagan, winner of the Excellence in Equity Award. Click here to hear an excerpt from her speech.
Keynote speaker Ambassador Brian Bowler, received the 2014 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Spirit Award. A native of Malawi, Africa, Bowler praised the work of educators and how an education changed his life.
Vice President Mark Jewell recognizes the many special guests who attended the gala.
Members of the NCAE Human and Civil Rights Commission pose with Ambassador Brian Bowler and U.S. Senator Kay Hagan (center).
Rahnesia Butler of Durham snaps pictures with her cell phone.
Highlights from the 2014 MLK Scholarship Gala
Teri Andrews JC Hargrove Elem Robeson Co.
Donna Coco Liberty Elem Randolph Co.
Randolph Frierson Stoney Creek Elem Mecklenburg Co.
Kayla Gonzalez Mt. Airy Middle Surry Co.
Tiffany Graham Jones Sr. High Jones Co.
Audrey Paille Statesville Middle Iredell Co.
Lucie Talikoff Estes Hills Elem Orange Co.
Multicultural Arts Contest Winners Nancy Johnson Green Grove Elem Robeson Co.
Donovan Lara Coleridge Elem Randolph Co.
Not pictured: Heather McCormick, JC Hargrove Elem, Robeson Co.
NCAE member Veronica Talton, accompanied by the Enloe High School Jazz Combo, performs a special selection.
Jasmine McDade (right), one of four Knightdale High students who served as the “Paparazzi,” interviews Carol Teal, executive director of Lillian’s List, on the red carpet.
Becky Snyder, a member of Mooresville City NCAE, was honored with a scholarship established in her name for recruiting the most members during the AEW membership drive contest.
The gala concluded with the singing of the Black National Anthem…”Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing.”
Distinguished North Carolina Award Honoree
Dr. J ohn Lucas...Making Public Education His Legacy A career in public education that spanned more than 60 years, along with a lifetime of embracing and overcoming challenges, has not only won Dr. John H. Lucas many admirers, but has led to him to receive the highest honor that a North Carolina citizen can attain…the North Carolina Award for public service. Dr. Lucas was recently one of six recipients presented the award by Governor Pat McCrory. Established by the General Assembly in 1961, the North Carolina Award, which is administered by the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, has been bestowed upon more than 250 notable men and women, including Maya Angelou, Billy Graham, Branford Marsalis, William Friday and James Taylor. For a man who has received numerous awards and accolades over the years, being honored in this way was very humbling, he said. “”It seems now that an award has been received that represents the total population; it’s not from any particular segment, group or subject area, but represents the total of our society. This award represents a contribution that is important to the entire community.” Dr. Lucas, who is 93 years young, continues to serve the community and is an inspiration to many. Although retired for many years, he continually advocates for youth, school funding and social injustice. Lucas Middle School in Durham and other community institutions, including the lobby of the NCAE Center, bear his name. He remains actively involved in his church and can often be found visiting the John H. Lucas Sr. Wellness Center at Hillside High School, which provides medical care to students. Students and their well-being have always been an important focal point for Dr. Lucas, who said his family served as the inspiration for him becoming an educator. The grandson of a school teacher and the son of a minister, Dr. Lucas said the many people he has come in contact with in addition to family – teachers, associates, students – helped influence and provide a motivation for him to strive and excel. And excel he did! Dr. Lucas was a prominent education administrator and leader, holding such positions as principal of Hillside High School, president of Shaw University, and president of NCAE. He currently serves as a lifetime honorary member of the NCAE Board of Directors and is a lifetime member of the NEA Board of Directors. He was very instrumental in integrating the white North Carolina Education Association (NCEA) and the black North Carolina Teachers Association (NCTA) to form NCAE in 1970. “This merger was important because there was a need for one association and a single voice in education. We were striving to ensure a new and stronger professional association for the state of North Carolina, especially for educators. The struggle
we faced proved to be very worthwhile and the Association seems to grow stronger and stronger even though we now face some difficult challenges.” Challenges faced by public education today – especially the shift to dismantle it -- is also a reason Dr. Lucas remains The secret to Dr. Lucas’s success? “Putting God an active first, others second and myself third, and spokesperson. wanting the best for all people and believing Although very that it’s achievable through excellence.” To different from learn more about Dr. Lucas, click here to view when he was in a video about his life. the classroom, public education he said is vital and always will be. “In my opinion, public education is very important because it gives a single voice in moving toward excellence and gives each person the ability to think, to create, to grow and to expand rather than to be suppressed. Education is a fundamental need in the development
Message From the President With all that is happening to public education, I know that there are times when we feel alone in this fight to save it. I want you to know that we are not! There is a growing frustration among other organizations and they are reaching out to NCAE for leadership. A storm is brewing, and we must take advantage of the resources that are available to us in order to ride it out. Click here to read more on how we can work together to keep everyone engaged in our efforts.
Thousands to Converge on Jones Street: NCAE to Participate in Annual HKonJ Event It’s a well-known fact that public schools in North Carolina are under attack. NCAE, along with many other organizations across the state, are speaking out against these injustices by participating in the HKonJ (Historic Thousands on Jones Street People’s Assembly Coalition) movement that will be held in Raleigh on Saturday, February 8. Join with thousands of North Carolinians at Shaw University on South Street (located between
Wilmington and Blount streets) at 9:30 a.m. in downtown Raleigh. The march to Jones Street will begin at 10:30 a.m., after which the mass people's assembly will take place on the doorstep of the People's House, the NC General Assembly. Members and friends of more than 150 social justice organizations make up the HKonJ coalition. The coalition unites to visibly challenge the extremist attacks on voting rights, economic justice, public education, and equal protection under the law. The NCAE Center will serve as the meeting place for members, parents and community leaders who are interested in attending the event. Please plan to arrive at 8:45 a.m., wear red in support of public education, and bring pro-public education
signs and banners. During the HKonJ press conference last month, NCAE attorney Jessica Holmes represented NCAE and made the following statement on behalf of President Rodney Ellis. “There is strength in numbers and collective action. There is a movement brewing and NCAE will stand, walk, march and run if we have to in order to protect our schools and to ensure that every child is provided the sound basic education that our constitution guarantees. The one thing we will not do is sit back and watch as public education is dismantled.” Click here for more information on the HKonJ event or contact Jessica.Holmes@ncae.org or Marcus.Bass@ncae.org.
NC Again Leads Nation Mark Your Calendars...
in National Board
Read Across America 2014 is Monday March 3!
It’s almost that time again! Time to dust off your red-and-white stovepipe hat, grab a few books and join the Cat in the Hat, along with millions of students, parents and community members across the country, to celebrate Read Across America Day. NCAE President Rodney Ellis, Vice President Mark Jewell and our own Cat encourage locals to participate in this beloved reading event and to plan activities in their communities. Need help in coordinating a celebration? All of the information you need is available on the NEA Web site. From booklists to tips for reading out loud, find what you need to inspire students to pick up a book and become life-long readers. You can also download and print the 2014 Read Across America Day poster, as well as access the Seuss Online Store, where you can find a large selection of Dr. Seuss products, including reading awards, pencils, decor, and so much more. If you do host an event, consider videotaping it and sharing via SchoolTube, which has created a Read Across America channel just for members. To sign up and share your video, click here. Also, don’t forget to post your activities and photos on the NCAE Facebook wall (www.facebook.com/wearencae), and send photos to Christi.Broadway@ncae.org.
North Carolina added 330 newlycredentialed teachers in 2013 to its National Board Certified Teachers (NBCT) cadre. This brings the state’s total number of NBCTs to 20,122, and places North Carolina first in the nation in the number of NBCTs. In addition, six North Carolina public school districts placed in the Top 20 districts nationally for the total number of National Board Certified Teachers and five North Carolina universities made the Top 50 public and private universities and colleges with the highest number of alumni who are newly certified National Board teachers. NCAE offers a wealth of resources for National Board candidates, which is provided by the Center for Instructional Advocacy. Available to advanced and renewal candidates are cluster/district drive-in clinics, regional professional learning days, a winter boot camp, and a January JumpStart workshop. For more information about these support options visit the NCAE Web site, www.ncae.org. To read more about how North Carolina is leading the nation in NBCTs, visit www.ncpublicschools.org and click on the appropriate link under “News.”
Tax Topics for NC Educators Each year many NCAE members ask how to deduct the dues they pay to NCAE/NEA and the local on their tax return, as well as how to calculate the deductible amount. Association dues paid by educators to NEA and your local associations are fully includable with other types of deductions as miscellaneous itemized deductions. The tax deduction for association dues paid by educators to NCAE is required to be reduced by an amount calculated each year related to NCAE’s political activities. Even though these political activities are a vital function of NCAE for its members, the tax laws require the dues tax deduction be reduced for professional associations that engage in lobbying activities on behalf of its members. NCAE’s external auditors have calculated that for 2013, the tax deduction claimed for NCAE dues paid by educators must be reduced by 10 percent. The miscellaneous itemized deductions for NEA, NCAE and local association dues are added to other miscellaneous itemized deductions and shown as itemized deductions on Schedule A of the tax return. The total of these miscellaneous itemized deductions are tax deductible to the extent they exceed 2 percent of your adjusted gross income. Please be aware that NCAE/NEA/Local dues are collected from paychecks or from your checking account or credit card (EFT) based on the school year, but for IRS tax deduction purposes, the amount that was deducted from your paycheck, checking account, credit card or paid by check during the calendar year of 2013 (irrespective of which school year it
applies) is figured into the tax deduction on your 2013 tax return. Contributions to the North Carolina Foundation for Public School Children (the NCAE Foundation) are fully tax deductible as charitable contributions if you itemize your deductions. $250 Out-of Pocket Classroom Expenses Are Tax Deductible Under the IRS rules, if you are an eligible educator, you can deduct up to $250 of any unreimbursed expenses paid or incurred for books, supplies, computer equipment, other equipment, and supplementary materials used in the classroom; these expenses must be paid or incurred during the tax year. If your spouse has qualified out-of-pocket educator expenses and you file jointly, you can claim up to $500. The best part? This is an above-the-line deduction, meaning that you can take the deduction even if you do not itemize. Of course, if you itemize, you can also claim job-related expenses above the $250 limit on a Schedule A, subject to the 2 percent rule (the 2 percent rule means that you can only deduct expenses which are in excess of 2 percent of your adjusted gross income). But no double-dipping! You can’t claim the same expense in both places. The same rules for record-keeping apply to educator expenses as with most deductions, so keep excellent receipts. Eligible educators are defined as teachers, instructors, counselors, principals or aides for kindergarten through grade 12. To be eligible, you must work at least 900 hours a school year in a school that provides elementary or secondary education, as determined under state law. Please consult your professional tax advisor to see how this information affects your personal tax situation. Tom Herbert, NCAE Business Office manager
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that eliminate the rights of teachers who were in the process of earning career status. The lawsuit was filed in Wake County Superior Court on December 17, 2013. The State recently filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, and NCAE attorneys are preparing to respond to the motion.
NCAE Takes Legal Action Against State for Career Status and Voucher Laws
Voucher Litigation On December 11, 2013, 25 plaintiffs filed suit against the State of North Carolina to challenge the voucher law passed by the General Assembly last session. If implemented, the voucher program will divert $10 million dollars from public schools by using taxpayer dollars to send students to private schools. There is no evidence to support that private schools provide a better education than traditional public schools. NCAE believes that the voucher program is bad policy and that it violates a North Carolina constitutional provision requiring that state school funds be faithfully appropriated and used exclusively for establishing and maintaining a uniform system of free public schools. Accordingly, the plaintiffs have filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to stop the program before it starts. For additional information on NCAE’s career status and voucher lawsuits, visit http:// www.ncae.org/whats-new/north-carolinians-challenge-unconstitutional-voucher-legislation/ and http://www.ncae.org/whats-new/ncae-files-lawsuit-against-career-status-law/ or contact NCAE Legal at 1-855-ASK-NCAE. Check the NCAE Web site, www.ncae.org, for additional updates as the cases progress in court.
NCAE Members at the Helm of These Success Stories
Sharing the “Great News” About NC’s Public Schools Three Transylvania County Schools Named “Reward Schools” NCAE member Mike Bailey, principal of Pisgah Forest Elementary School in Transylvania County, was excited to share the news with students and staff that the school had a new status. Recently, the NC Department of Public Instruction announced that Pisgah Forest Elementary was one of three schools named 2013-14 Title I Reward Schools. “I am so proud of how hard our faculty and staff work to make every day the best for the children they work with,” Bailey said. “We are fortunate to have such dedicated and determined teachers, instructional assistants, support professionals and administrators who care for, and reach for the most potential a child has inside.” TC Henderson Elementary School and Brevard Elementary School also were named as “Reward” schools. Criteria needed to meet these requirements include:
Being a “highest-performing school,” which is among the top 10 percentile of Title I schools in the state that have the highest absolute performance over a number of years for the “all students” group and for all subgroups on the statewide assessments; or • Being a “high-progress school,” which is among the 10 percentile of Title 1 schools in the state that are making the most progress in improving the performance of the “all students” group over a number of years on the statewide assessments. Bailey added, “Pisgah Forest Elementary is truly reflective of a community that cares deeply for children and families. Without our volunteers, and the warmth, safety and security that students and parents feel when they enter our building, we would never be able to achieve this honor. This is true validation and reflection of how hard everyone works; of how working together as a community that cares for children can, and does, breed success and growth for every child.” Information in this article was reprinted with permission of The Transylvania Times •
Great Field Trip Opportunity!
Durham Bulls Celebrate Education Days in April Tired of boring field trips? Join the Durham Bulls baseball team as they celebrate education across the Triangle during two-fun-filled days of baseball and special activities on April 10 and April 29 at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park in Durham. Education Day provides elementary, middle and high school students the opportunity to learn outside of a classroom setting. Interactive learning stations will be available on the concourse and National Baseball Hall of Fame lesson plans are available by clicking HERE. Student and chaperone tickets are just $4.50 (with one complimentary teacher ticket per class!). Spaces are limited! Tickets are on sale now and can be reserved by calling 919-956-BULL (choose extension 2) or by completing a ticket order form and emailing Andrew Ferrier at firstname.lastname@example.org. Download our Education Day ticket order form HERE. For an informational flyer, click HERE.
Pitt County School one of 20 in the Nation to Receive Champion Creativity in Schools Grant Andrea Adams, principal of SheepHarney Elementary School and NCAE member, is one of 20 elementary and middle school principals from across the nation selected by Crayola and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) to receive a “Champion Creatively Alive Children” school grant. The grant is helping to fund innovative programs aimed at fostering children’s critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication skills. The school received a $2,500 monetary grant and $1,000 worth of Crayola products. “As an A+ school, we were excited to receive the ‘Creatively Alive Children’ grant to assist us in our efforts to integrate the arts into our daily lessons. Our school-wide focus is on improving student engagement through the arts; the grant is reinforcing our efforts to make global connections across the curriculum. With the leadership of our A+ coordinator and teaching staff, we are excited about displaying our arts-based collaboration efforts at our annual multicultural fair this month.” The grant is described, Adams said, as “Artistic Insights Build Global Awareness.” The creative leadership team, in collaboration with the school design team, is developing strategies to empower the entire learning community to become creative leaders and creative producers. This school’s mission statement, “Soaring to achievement together through the lens of creative arts” will be brought to life in a year-long, school-wide exploration of other cultures around the globe. The creative leadership team is co-teaching arts-infused lessons to build teachers’ creative capacity and to help them use alternative assessments in evaluating student work.
NCRSP Focuses on Helping Children at Home and Abroad The destruction caused by the typhoon last November in the Philippines was massive, and thousands of residents lost their lives as a result of the storm. Assistance is needed in the form of food, shelter, supplies, medical attention, rebuilding of facilities, and many other needs too numerous to mention. Education of our children here at home has been our focus for decades, but we are asking you to reach out in a global way to assist with meeting the basic needs of children worldwide. Our Administrative Council has approved for this year’s 2014 John Hoffman NCRSP Outreach Project, in NCRSP president connection with the NCRSP Convention in Hickory (March 18-19), that we reach out to others in a global way. From now until the convention we are asking you to make a donation to help our neighbors. Listed are the guidelines that need to be followed in order to collect funds for this project: 1) Donations should be in the form of a check made payable to the American Red Cross. Please mark in the memo line Typhoon Haiyan Relief.
2) Please create a tally sheet of your unit’s donations. Donations may be received from members or nonmembers or by local affiliate fund-raising activities. Any cash donation you receive from local fundraising efforts should be deposited and a check written from the local in that amount. You may use the attached form to record donations. 3) Please deliver the tally sheet to Sandi Keyser, community participation chair, at the state convention in March. She will tally the donations received statewide and present a report on the second day of convention activities. 4) Please do not keep the funds until the convention. Deliver donations to your local chapter of the American Red Cross as soon as possible after the donations are received. In that manner, the funds will be put to more immediate use where they are needed. If you do not have a local American Red Cross chapter, mail donations to the following address: American Red Cross National Headquarters, 2025 E St., N.W., Washington, DC 20006. Thank you so much for your efforts on behalf of children worldwide! If you have questions, please contact me at email@example.com.
Dates to Remember February 2014 6th-8th 15th
National Board Boot Camp, NCAE Center Regional Professional Learning Day, UNC-Wilmington 17th President’s Day 19th-21st NEA Minority Leadership and Women’s Leadership Training Conferences 20th World Day for Social Justice 21st-23rd NEA National Leadership Summit Black History Month Library Lovers Month Youth Leadership Month
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Positions stated in this publication do not necessarily reflect the official position of NCAE unless so identified. The NCAE News Bulletin, a journal of the Association, is published by the North Carolina Association of Educators, 700 S.Salisbury St., Post Office Box Box 27347, Raleigh, NC 27611, 1-800-662-7924. Linda Powell-Jones, Editor/Designer