August 2020 NCAE News Bulletin

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NCAE North Carolina Association of Educators

News Bulletin

August 2020

Vol. 51, No. 1

press time, more than 17,000 signatures had been collected (click here to sign the petition if you have not already done so).

What will the re-opening of schools actually look like? That’s the $1 million question that everyone wants answered. Here’s what we know: A few weeks ago, Governor Roy Cooper announced that schools would operate on Plan B when school resumes on August 17, which is a hybrid of online and in-person learning. Back in late spring, he charged schools with developing a three-tier plan for reopening: Plan A – all in-person learning, Plan B, and Plan C -- remoteonly learning. The governor stated that schools are not allowed to use Plan A. Click here for an NCAE FAQ on reopening rules. NCAE leaders worked closely with Governor Cooper to come up with the best plan for educators and its 1.5 million school children. “The careful approach that Governor Cooper took in all of his reopening decisions is deeply appreciated, and while we understand the difficult choice, we must make the safety of our educators and students the first priority,” said NCAE President Tamika Walker Kelly in a statement to the media. “Unfortunately, educators and parents have been presented with a false dichotomy: the public schools we love, or our safety. We can have both. In order to safely reopen all schools in the way that will protect the health of both students and educators, a significant amount of resources is

required. The General Assembly has simply refused to appropriate them. This General Assembly must step up and do their jobs to provide the necessary funding for public schools so that educators can do their jobs to safely educate all of North Carolina’s students. NCAE members have been on the front lines of this pandemic ever since it began. We have supported and led families through the greatest period of uncertainty of our lifetime. We intend to lead our communities so that when we see our students and families again, we are able to welcome them into fully resourced, and safe learning and working environments for all of us.” In an effort to secure proper safety measures for educators and students, NCAE launched the “Our Schools, Our Safety, Our Say” campaign over the summer. Members were asked to sign a petition that demanded the General Assembly: 1) Keep public school funding intact. Absolutely no cuts to the 2020-21 budget. 2) Follow and fund all strong schools requirements and recommendations published by the Department of Health and Human Services. 3) Meet with NCAE to create safe school re-entry plans that respect students, families, and staff. As of

NCAE leaders will be keeping these demands at the forefront as they await legislators’ scheduled return to Raleigh in September. Because safety is a major concern for the successful re-opening of schools, the Association hosted a tele town hall last month with Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Elizabeth Tilson, state health director and chief medical officer, and Susan Perry, chief deputy secretary. Dr. Cohen discussed measures the state will take to help keep educators and students safe, and answered members’ questions and concerns about the COVID-19 virus. Schools will be required to perform daily temperature and health screening checks, maintain 6 feet of social distancing, and face coverings will be mandatory for all school employees and students. Click here to see the information referenced by Dr. Cohen. During the town hall meeting, a poll was conducted of members giving them an opportunity to share which school re-opening plan they thought is better suited for North Carolina – 12 percent chose Plan B, 69 percent chose Plan C, and a little less than 3 percent were unsure. Over the coming weeks, and for as long it takes, NCAE will continue to work with the governor, health officials, and lawmakers to ensure that our students and staff remain safe and healthy, and that the best learning options are implemented. Regular updates will be forthcoming through the Association’s social media sites and other communications venues.

NCAE News Bulletin


2020…A Year Like No Other! Welcome to the month of August and a school year that will look like no other we have experienced. Not only are we living the day-to-day reality of a global pandemic, but a cultural revolution that is changing Tamika Walker Kelly the state of our President society, and in the mist of it all, we are staying focused on the best way to educate our students. Although the challenges of this past spring and summer are still very much present, we’ve elevated our collective voice and our collective strength to mobilize within our communities and to build unity. We re-wrote and redesigned curriculums to keep students engaged, we delivered meals to children to ensure they did not go hungry, and we worked with our coalition partners to develop strategies that were in the best interest of public education as we faced this uncertain time in our history. Together, we met and exceeded the goals of keeping our students, and ourselves, at the center of this work. One huge positive that has sprung forth from this is that we’ve seen new leaders emerge and new members become a part of the Association. For the new leaders, thank you for stepping up to take an active role in moving NCAE’s vision and mission forward, and for those of you who are new to the NCAE family, thank you for joining

the most influential advocacy organization for public school employees in the state. Now, more than ever, we need your help with this work and need you to be present in reshaping what public education will look like as we prepare for the future and the November election. All that we do will help fulfill the right of every child to receive a high-quality public education, whether in person or remotely. This is indeed a difficult time for all of us, but despite all that is occurring in our lives, I want to encourage you to connect with your colleagues and get involved in your local affiliates because building relationships is going to be the key to sustaining our growth and effectiveness as an organization. Also, continue to practice self-care and spend time with your families and loved ones. Both are important components to helping you continue to be effective in your job as an educator. For our educators who are new to the profession, I know that this is not what you envisioned for your first year. I remember the excitement of my first classroom, getting things set up for the first day of school and the anticipation of meeting my students. It can be an exciting time! I know many of you are feeling a lot of anxiety about this new reality. Although you may not be setting up a physical classroom, remember that students still need all of the dreams, hopes, and passions you have for them as an educator. The things that drew you to the profession are still needed. Keep that enthusiasm and know that you have colleagues who are there to support and assist you along the way. Your NCAE family is also here and will provide a wealth of resources that will help make your school year, whatever it might look like, a success! Wishing each of you the best of luck and a sincere thanyou for everything that you do! Remember…We’re All In This Together!

Summer Leadership Conference 2020: A Virtual Experience! This year’s Summer Leadership Conference took on a whole new look. Instead of meeting in person due to COVID-19, members attended via Zoom, and it was open to all members, not just local leaders. The conference, themed “Build Our Union, Reclaim Our State: inthistogether#,” was offered twice -- the weeks of July 6-10 and July 20-24. Several hundred members participated, taking part in sessions that will help them move forward with increasing membership as well as growing locals, and building the Association’s organizational strength. “We may be dealing with a pandemic, but it did not stop our members from gaining knowledge that will help them in their roles within their local affiliates,” said NCAE President Tamika Walker Kelly. “Our members are committed to ensuring NCAE remains a vibrant organization, and now they are armed with the tools to do the work that we have before us this upcoming year.” A wealth of sessions were offered that included everything from communications, to budget and finance, to race/class/ politics and schools. There were also evening sessions built in to give members an opportunity to have fun and network.

NCAE News Bulletin


“We Are In This Together!” On July 1, Tamika Walker Kelly and Bryan Proffitt took the reins of NCAE leadership – Tamika as president and Bryan as vice president. The duo is looking forward to the next three years as they continue the legacy of the Association and create a new space in which the organization can thrive. Recently, the editor of the News Bulletin had an opportunity to sit down with the new leaders to discuss their vision, among other things, for the future.

President Tamika Walker Kelly

What led to your decision to run for the position of president and vice president, respectively? Tamika: This is the window and the time to make major change and to advocate on behalf of our educators, our students, and our parents, but more importantly reclaim our state because public education is critical in North Carolina. I felt I had skillsets to bring to the organization in order to lead us, not only in traditional ways, but in the ways that we need for organizing and building our organizational structure. So, I decided to run for president, and in particular, to run for leadership with Bryan. Bryan: When the state was taken over by the right in 2010, it became really clear that we [NCAE] needed to have a huge presence in order to fight against them. Looking at Rev. Barber’s work with the Moral Monday Movement, it became clear that if we were going to have a state worth living in, this organization would have to be the most powerful one in North Carolina. So, I began collaborating with like-minded people, one of them being Tamika, and we started thinking what that would look like. Over the course of the decade, we worked to figure out how to rebuild locals and how to get people engaged. If the 2020’s were going to be the decade for us (because the 2010’s definitely weren’t), we needed to take the lessons we had been learning in our locals and in our caucus and translate them into our organization. Plus, I constantly talked to Tamika about running for state office. When she made the choice, it solidified things for me. Officially, the two of you ran as a team and campaigned together. Why was the decision to do so important? Tamika: Running as a team is not something that the members often see. It was important because we already had a great working relationship that spans six years. We have advocated and fought alongside each other, disagreed with

Vice President Bryan Proffitt

one another, we value what we both bring to our respective leadership journeys, and we have skillsets that complement each other. We have a partnership where we bounce ideas off each other and we create them together. During a time when there are a lot of outside external forces putting pressure on our organization, we must be united as we uphold our mission

and goals. Bryan: Leadership is really hard and I believe in teams. It became really clear that in order to lead in a way that our folks need for us to lead, we have to have the strongest leadership possible and I don’t think an individual is the strongest leader. As leaders, we need folks that are willing to take the journey with us, which includes challenging us, pushing us to be better, and holding us accountable. What is your vision for the next three years? Tamika: We have a shared vision, which is to make NCAE the most important organization in the state, and we plan to do that by building our internal strength by growing our locals, helping to develop leaders inside of those locals, and building capacity. Because we have the reach and the base in almost every county, we have the connections and relationships we need to transform public education. We are laying the groundwork for really great transformation and restoring and re-imaging those things that were taken from us. When I say restore, I am talking about the legacy of the things that people before us fought for and to re-imagine the possibilities of what our organization can do. Bryan: And it’s not just what our organization can do, but what our schools can be and what our state can be. I think we have a real opportunity to build an organization that can lead the rethinking of all of that. Sometimes leadership can be daunting. What strengths do you both possess or what past experiences can you draw from that will help get you through tough situations? Tamika: One of the strengths that we have is that we are a team and we have a partnership. It’s not uncommon for me to call or text Bryan multiple times a day, or for him to call me just to check in. As an individual, grounding myself in the work of our locals and in our membership is my motivating (Continued on page 4)

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“We Are In This Together!” (Continued from page 3)

force. I can’t lose touch with the realities of what is happening with our members in the classroom and on the ground. If I ever feel overwhelmed, I will think about how our members are feeling and what their needs are. They have tasked me with the position of leading this organization and that is something I don’t take lightly. Bryan: I don’t think there is anything more daunting than the work our educators do with kids -- the immensity of the vulnerability and enormity of the task that our folks are taking on literally every single day! There is nothing more daunting than educators who hold the possibility of our kids’ achieving their fullest potential in their hands. I did it for 11 years, and I think I did it well. Outside of that, there is literally nothing more daunting than walking into your classroom on Monday morning after having one of your kids murdered on Saturday night. In comparison, there is NOTHING I can do in my life that could be more daunting than that! I think knowing what we’re good at and knowing what we’re not good at and being okay with that makes us people who can help change the world. How long have you both been educators? When did you become aware that you wanted to make public education a career? Tamika: I taught music for 13 years at Morganton Road Elementary in Fayetteville. When I was 5 years old, I decided I wanted to be a teacher or famous singer. I loved school, I loved my teachers, that’s just what I wanted to do. My mom was a TA so I was able to help her with projects and hear teachers say how much they liked working with her. When I got to high school and was really serious about being a music teacher, I had a chorale teacher who spent time with me and showed me that I could study music education and do what she did. She helped me get into the school of music at East Carolina

University as a North Carolina Teaching Fellow. Bryan: I have been an educator for 16 years. I taught history for 11 years, was president of the Durham Association of Educators for four years, and served a year as the community school coordinator for the Durham County school district. Education is in my blood – my grandmother, great-aunt, aunt, two cousins, and my sister were and are teachers. Like Tamika, I loved school, every part of it. Since 1983, there has only been one year in my life where I was not connected to a public school. Literally, it’s the only thing I know. I thought I wanted to be a doctor and worked on a degree in microbiology, which I eventually finished, but in my last two years of that degree, I realized that wasn’t what I wanted. I considered being an organizer but then started getting pushed by mentors and people who I was doing organizing work with, one of whom was a teacher. I was shown a clear path of how I could do the two things I loved -- organizing and teaching. So, I went back to school and became certified to teach. What are you most looking forward to in your respective roles? Tamika: I am looking forward to connecting with and building locals across the state and being able to help members find their own leadership, similar to the way people within the organization helped me discover mine. We talk a lot on the national level about continuous membership and starting as a student member and advancing up the ranks to NEA Retired. I want members to see that there is always a place for them in this organization, no matter what level of membership, and that if they want to grow themselves as a leader in advocacy work, if they want to grow in organizing work, if they want to be an instructional leader, NCAE is here to help.

Bryan: I think public school educators are the coolest people on the planet. There is nothing more rewarding than meeting, hanging out and connecting with, being trusted by, and holding the stories, struggles, tears, and celebrations of public school educators. I love this state, and I am excited about the possibility of visiting each county where our members live and work. I’m also excited about winning and creating a context in which we can start to give the coolest people on the planet a little more room to breathe and a few more tools to use so that our kids can thrive. You both have come into state leadership at a most historic time when our way of life is rapidly changing – the COVID-19 pandemic, the Black Lives Matter Movement, removal of Confederate monuments, etc. What are your feelings about this unprecedented time in which we now live and how will you work to find solutions that are in the best interest of our members and students? Tamika: The silver lining to all that has happened is that we as an organization have an opportunity -- everybody has stopped for a moment, everybody is listening. We have the opportunity to have more robust conversations because there are more people than ever before who are willing to engage in changing the world. Part of that opportunity is people are looking to us as educators to lead them in the moment. Because we are the people who know, who have the ear of our communities, our families, our parents, and our kids, and we have the ability to teach, not just our kids, but the world what it looks like to create history. It’s up to us to create the space for our students to lead and imagine what a new world could look like. We are never going back to the way things were and the road ahead is wide open for us to create the schools that we want, the state that we want, and ultimately the world that we want to see. (Continued on page 5)

NCAE News Bulletin


“We Are In This Together!” (Continued from page 4)

Bryan: I think there’s a unique specificity about the year 2020. We’ve been living in a system that has been on the brink of collapse for the last 10-15 years, beginning with the financial crisis in 2007-2008. The way our society has functioned for the last 50 years is over. It is our job to create conditions in which everybody else can step up. There was something about the way this question was asked that made me think “our people [educators] know how to solve this. There isn’t a problem that you can throw at public school educators that they can’t solve.” But we have to create the conditions where our people are in the lead. Currently, society is not structured that way. But when they do take the lead, there won’t be a problem that organized educators can’t find solutions for!

What do you feel your greatest accomplishment as an educator has been? Tamika: Every day parents send us their babies exactly the way they are, the way they love them, and I get to tap into and help them find their creativity. I get to love them, and listen to them, and laugh with them, and cry with them, and then I get to send them back home safely the same way their parents sent them to me. It’s my greatest accomplishment as an educator that I have had the privilege of doing every single day for 13 years. There’s not an accolade, or award, or title that could mean as much to me as when I see my kids in the middle of the day or at the store and they scream out my name. Bryan: Earning the love and trust of high school kids and the love and trust of educators. I feel proud of being able

to support and love my students through the trauma they struggled with after losing one of their classmates to violence. What are some things that members might not know about you? Tamika: I am very nerdy and I love all things dealing with video games. I’m also a foodie. I really enjoy eating interesting foods. Bryan: I’m way cooler (with a laugh)! So many people see me as an intense, “radical” guy, but I can be silly at times. I enjoy dee-jaying a good dance party, and I love the musical artists Prince and D’Angelo. Also, I am one of the weepiest white boys you will ever meet!

In Order to Change a School and Community, the Leadership Must be Visible and Active in Community Functions, Meetings, Celebrations, and Even in Times of Struggle and Hardship

About Teicher L. Patterson Hometown: Raeford, North Carolina Role: Principal, Enfield Middle STEAM Academy in Enfield Education: Master of School Administration, NC State College of Education; Bachelor of Arts in Music, North Carolina Central University

Teacher Patterson, a celebrated educator of 28 years and member of the Halifax County Association of Educators, recently passed away due to complications of COVID-19. He was a devoted NCAE leader, a passionate advocate for public education, and an outstanding community leader. NCAE is deeply saddened at the loss of this public education champion and extends its deepest sympathy to his family and the Halifax County community. Here are a few facts about Patterson. To read more about his story, click here.

His Advice to Aspiring Educators: “Remember, there is a child in all of us, never forget your childhood while standing in front of your students. Always keep a child’s face in your heart and mind when constructing lesson plans and making decisions; the lessons are always for them, but they will always teach you something.” Why He Chose Education: “I wanted to make a difference in the lives of students in rural communities. Educators seemed to have the greatest impact on the lives of children.”

NCAE News Bulletin


Members Doing Their Part to Dismantle Institutional Racism NCAE member Lenwood Thompson describes the feeling of recently being followed by a police officer in a park where he frequently walks. “Being black and male in this country can make you a target and that’s an ever-present reality,” said Thompson, a middle school teacher in Guilford County. “I know that I am important to a lot of people, but to someone who is racist or who assumes I am up to something negative, I could become another statistic.” Thompson wasn’t stopped or questioned by the officer, but he knows that he easily could have been because of the color of his skin, and that makes him angry. The deaths of George Floyd, Breanna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and countless others at the hands of police weigh heavily on his mind and have been thrust into the world’s consciousness. Social justice protests and a stronger presence of the Black Lives Matter Movement have taken place across the country and around the world in an effort to affect change, and educators are taking a leading role in making that happen. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, members and students throughout the state have participated in events to raise their voices to promote racial equality. Here are a few accounts: Wake County In Raleigh, teachers, students, and parents gathered downtown for the “Educators for Justice” rally a few days after the death of George Floyd. A march from Chavis Park to the State Capitol was the culmination of a relay coordinated by track and cross-country coaches to mark the civil rights marches of the late 1960s. Matt Cope was one of five history teachers who ran 40-plus miles from Oxford to Raleigh tracing the route of a 1970 protest that followed the murder of war veteran Henry Morrow. “We wanted to teach a lesson, to set an example for our students,” said Cope, who also teaches women’s lacrosse at Millbrook High School. Forsyth County The Forsyth County Association of Educators (FCAE) hosted a rally that drew a crowd of more than 150 participants. Local President Val Young said it is important for educators to be a part of this movement because social justice is a huge part of the public education sector. “As educators, it is our responsibility to speak for our children and fight for their rights,” Young said. FCAE, she added, has a list of concerns it wants addressed by the Forsyth County School System. One of the most pressing is the increasing segregation of schools. “It stems from

choice. We need to talk about how we can make choice work for all children, because the schools that are being affected the most are those attended by poor black and brown children.” The number of people that came out for the rally, in spite of the pandemic, gives Young hope that the work needed will be accomplished. “We wrestled with hosting the rally when basically everyone was working from home. The argument was if we couldn’t be in school how could we be downtown protesting? How could we not? We put our lives on the line for our children every day, this is nothing new. So, we masked up and we protested!” Buncombe County “It’s kind of a perfectly imperfect story right now,” said Buncombe County Association of Educators’ (BCAE) President Paula Dinga. The members of BCAE believe in the Black Lives Matter Movement and are committed to actions that embody that belief. BCAE is addressing the issues of racism and privilege headon, and have crafted a list of 10 demands that has been shared with the Buncombe County School Board. Some of those demands include actively recruiting and retaining educators of color to work in schools, developing a plan to increase the number of students of color in select academic programs, prohibiting the display and use of the Confederate flag in Buncombe County schools, and implementing restorative justice practices across the school system to end the disproportionate and biased discipline practices in schools. “We realize that we’re [educators] an important part of the conversation, and we need to make sure that we’re open to it, and that we’re ready to have hard conversations about what’s needed next,” Dinga added. “We know, within our walls, we need to be able to provide an equitable education to all students, and our students of color, in particular, are disproportionately represented negatively in our suspension rates. Also, our participation and accelerated classes and gifted programs.” A response regarding BCAE’s demands was received from Buncombe County Superintendent Dr. Tony Baldwin, who said the school board will re-commit itself to implementing strategies to increase equity and long-term success for students of color. Click here to read the response in its entirety. Continued on page 7

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Members Doing Their Part to Dismantle Institutional Racism Continued from page 6

Martin County Cleta Harrell, a member in Martin County, has helped organize events at school and church, but nothing on the scale of a protest. After the death of George Floyd, she helped coordinate a protest in the town of Williamston where she lives. “The initial idea was to hold up Black Lives Matter signs at the busiest stoplight in town. However, my sister thought we should march.” The march was held on June 19 in honor of Juneteenth. Not many people were able to attend, so a second protest event was schedule on July 11. Approximately 60 participants attended. “Our aim was to give our youth the opportunity to get involved and use their voices in a positive manner, not because everyone around the country was protesting,” said Harrell, who served as co-coordinator of the event. “I teach my students to use their words to express themselves and I felt I needed to serve as a model for them. This was my way of using my voice to advocate for my future grandchildren, nieces, and nephews so that they will be treated fairly.” Student Activism When things begin to ramp up around the murder of George Floyd, member Wendell Tabb charged his students with working on material that focused on social justice and issues that were important to them. They did not disappoint, creating the video “Being Black in America.” Set to the backdrop of protest images and Marvin Gaye’s song “What’s Going

On,” the video highlights the narratives of young black women that range from being denied access to an education and jobs to being seen as a threat. They are part of the “One Voice Acting Troupe” at Hillside High School, where Tabb is director of the theater department. “The next One Voice piece will be performed by my male students,” Tabb said. “I would like for them to speak their truth about how they feel being Black males in today’s society. I am requesting my students to continue writing about social justice issues that cover the range of topics from racism,

discrimination, police brutality, economic equality, etc.” When asked if the students are hopeful that change is on the horizon, he feels that they are very hopeful. “They are witnessing many organizations, businesses, athletes, and celebrities join forces in speaking out for change. This has not happened before in such a massive way. People are having conversations about race that they have not had before. I am very optimistic and believe things will get better, but we will also experience people revealing their true colors.”

President Tamika Walker Kelly Speaks During an interview with NEA Today the week after the death of George Floyd, NCAE President Tamika Walker Kelly shared the following on how educators can help dismantle racism: “How we navigate this moment is going to set us up for how we approach the future, and educators have the ability to lay the groundwork to help our students understand what is happening in the world now and how they will be the catalyst to change the future. We have to equip students with the language and tools to create the world that is necessary for everyone to be respected, loved, and valued – and educators are in the unique position to do that. “In order for change to occur, educators must recognize the biases they bring into the classroom. Change will also come from building true, meaningful, and authentic community coalitions and deepening one’s knowledge of the effects of racism, and how it not only affects black people and other people of color, but how it affects white people…and understand how all things intersect with one another. “It wasn’t just older or younger Americans [who participated in protests]. It was families, educators, and students coming out into the streets to lift the collective voice. It’s a difficult thing for Americans who have been comfortable and complacent in their privilege, but it’s been beautiful to see so many people come together to have the difficult conversations and who are engaged in activism in a way that’s never been done before.”

NCAE News Bulletin


Racial Equity in Education: A Guide to Resources Creating Space to Talk About Race in Schools Racism is complex and contentious. Many of us are afraid to even broach the subject. It often feels easier and safer to avoid the topic altogether. But silence and inaction reinforce the status quo. And avoidance speaks volumes -- it communicates to students of color that racism doesn’t matter enough to warrant attention and, by omission, invalidates their experiences, perspectives, identities and lives. White students, on the other hand, often see racism being accepted and normalized, without acknowledgement or accountability. To advance real solutions, we need to address real problems. As teachers, we have “teachable moments,” or opportunities to constructively and productively address race. But these opportunities need to be thoughtfully created, seized, planned, and managed. The following tips can help you make race conversations normal, constructive, and successful. 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8) 9) 10)

Create a Welcoming Classroom and School Root Out Biases and Barriers Encourage Self-Expression Be Open Yourself Engage, Don’t Avoid Create Opportunities for Discussion Talk About Racism and Racial Equity Establish and Enforce Group Norms Process is as Important as Content Model Your Values and Vision

“Creating the Space to Talk About Race in Your School” content on this web site and in our "Racial Justice in Education" resource guide © 2017 National Education Association, in collaboration with Race Forward.

Black Lives Matter at School As racism and xenophobia become more prevalent and overt in our schools and communities, it is more important than ever to listen and to elevate the voices, experiences, and history of our fellow citizens and communities under attack. The goal of Black Lives Matter at School is to spark an ongoing movement of critical reflection and honest conversation in school communities for people for all ages to

engage with issues of racial justice. Pledge to take actions that will address access and opportunity for all students, by highlighting inequities and increasing awareness, organizing for change, and growing the movement. Click here to take the NEA “Our Schools, Our Stories, Our Future” pledge. If you are in need of resources, here are some from NEA and other racial justice sites: •

NEA Ed Justice – Racial Justice in Education: https://

RJE Resource Guide:

Race Equity Tools:

Teaching While White:

Showing Up for Racial Justice: https://

Kirwin Institute:

Telling the Right Story on Race during COVID-19:

Policing, Protest, Racial Injustice RCN Messaging Guide: 1R9u4r4yw8FeEbYBus8bqtDmAQT-Sh5LR/view

NCAE News Bulletin


A Look at Some Results of the 2020 Teacher Working Conditions Survey North Carolina parents can now find out how happy or not teachers are at their child’s public school. More than 102,000 teachers, principals, assistant principals, and other schoolbased educators participated in the 2020 NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey, and answered a wide-ranging series of questions on areas such as time, facilities, resources, school conduct and safety, and leadership and support. The results are available at Most schools had enough educators respond to report individual school totals. The survey is conducted every two years, but the closure of schools due to the coronavirus pandemic complicated efforts this year. The state received responses from 84.45 percent of respondents, lower than in 2018. Here’s a look at some of the results from the survey: MORE TEACHERS COMPLAIN ABOUT STUDENT CONDUCT • Fewer North Carolina teachers feel student conduct is being managed well at school. • Teachers who felt that students at their school follow the rules of conduct has dropped from 70 percent in 2016 to 65 percent in 2018 and to 62 percent this year. • On whether school administrators consistently enforce rules for student conduct, the percentage of teachers who agree dropped from 72 percent in 2016 to 69 percent in 2016 to 66 percent this year. • More than three-quarters of teachers felt school administrators support their efforts to maintain discipline in their classrooms and that teachers consistently enforce rules for student conduct. But the percentage is lower than in 2016 or 2018. • But 89 percent of educators said they felt the faculty work in a school environment that is safe. That’s the same as in 2018 but down from 93 percent in 2016.

The rising concerns about student conduct occur at the same time there’s been a statewide drop in suspensions as schools look for alternatives to removing students from campus.

TEACHERS RATE SCHOOLS ON SAFETY AND EQUITY • New questions were asked this year about equity and school safety. • At this school, all students are treated equitably, justly and fairly — 78 percent • School rules are equitably applied to all students — 71 percent • Physical conflicts among students rarely happen at school — 64 percent • Bullying is not a frequent problem at this school — 58 percent • Cyberbullying is not a frequent problem among students at this school — 63 percent • At this school, students are not bullied about their race — 73 percent ARE TEACHERS HAPPY WHERE THEY WORK? Teachers were asked to rate their school’s leadership and whether they felt they were working in a good place. It’s a red flag for school districts when they see results at individual schools that are much lower than the district average. • Statewide, 79 percent of educators said school leadership consistently supports teachers. That’s unchanged from 2018. • Statewide, 86 percent of educators said their school is a good place to work and learn. That’s down from 87 percent in 2018. Portions of this article were reprinted with the permission of the News & Observer, reporter Keung Hui

State Health Plan Newsletter Provides Information to Help You Live Healthier Check out this issue of “Member Focus,” the online newsletter for those enrolled in the North Carolina State Health Plan. Following are some of the featured articles: • • • • • • •

SHP Extends Cost Waivers for COVID-19 Testing and Treatment 2021 Premium Credits for Tobacco Users Humana Benefits and Savings Plan for Medicare Advantage Members Clear Pricing Project Provider Updating Your Primary Care Provider Third-Party Recovery Slowing the Spread of COVID-19

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NCAE News Bulletin


New NCAE Staff Matt Howard is the new manager of the Business Office and Membership Department. He replaces Margo Francis. Prior to joining the NCAE family, Howard worked in public education for 25 years as a school business manager in Pennsylvania. He wanted to work for the Association to continue his support for educators, staff, and students in North Carolina, with the ultimate goal of improving the educational outcomes for learners. “My vision as manager is to continue the organization’s support of public education in North Carolina, advocating for its members, and providing support to move the state’s education system forward so that students have the best learning opportunities.” Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Howard and his four siblings are products of public education. He attended Saint Vincent College, where he earned a degree in accounting. Shortly after, he earned his CPA professional certification. Howard is married and has four adult children. When not working, he spends time with family and friends, hikes, fishes, plays basketball, and cheers on the great sporting teams of Pittsburgh. Bethany Watkins is the new network systems programmer and IT network administrator. She replaces Ut Le, who retired last year. Prior to coming to NCAE, Watkins was a systems administrator for the North Carolina offices of Fidelity National Title and Commonwealth Land Title. She also worked for title insurance companies and was an admissions counselor for North Carolina Wesleyan University and N.C. State University. Watkins’ vision for meeting NCAE’s IT needs is simple, she says. “My goal is to leverage technology to make NCAE more efficient and secure so that staff can focus on doing great things for education in North Carolina. There will be lots of IT changes coming to the Association in the near future!” Watkins is a native of North Carolina (seventh generation) and a product of public schools. She attended N.C. State University where she earned a BA in Sociology with a concentration in Criminal Justice. She also graduated from the Paralegal Certificate Program at Meredith College with a focus on real estate. She is married to her high school sweetheart and the couple has two school-aged sons, very important reasons she was interested in working for NCAE. “I want North Carolina to be the best it can possibly be and that includes making sure each child has access to a great education. We are all better when we are stronger together!” When not working, Watkins enjoys reading, traveling, and watching college football, something she attests to doing way too much of…Go Pack!

A Lesson Learned During the Pandemic Educators have worked fast to meet the demands of this unprecedented moment in history. Over the summer, some got the chance to slow down and reflect. During that time, lessons became clear, like the primacy of relationships. For Mindy Speice, a teacher at Davis Drive Elementary School in Wake County, the summer break was challenging, but from it came a big realization. “First, to assume I received a chance to slow down is a stretch! The sense of anxiety and worry that I have for my students and colleagues made it nearly impossible to rest and reflect. I feel teachers are battling our school boards, our administrators, and in some cases family and friends over the right path to August and beyond. The lesson I learned is that it’s time to step up as a union member and get involved. It’s time to take the lead in my building and put in the time to make this a better place to teach for me and my students. I participated in the NCAE Summer Leadership Conference and now have some tools in my arsenal that will help. This COVID-19 mess is like the elephant in the room. We’re all learning and building but no one is talking about it looming over us. It’s time for all of us to come together and get rolling!”

NCAE News Bulletin


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Gaston County Member Recipient of 2020 NSTA Award Michelle Ellis, a science teacher at Hunter Huss High School in Gaston County, is a 2020 recipient of a Shell Urban Science Educator Development Award, presented by the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) Teacher Awards Program. She was recognized during a virtual ceremony in June. The program honors K-12 teachers, principals, professors, and other science education professionals for their outstanding work and achievement in science education. NSTA, based in Arlington, VA, is the largest professional organization in the world promoting excellence in science teaching and learning, preschool through college. Its membership includes approximately 50,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business representatives, and others involved in science education. Science educators are encouraged to apply for its 2021 NSTA Teacher Awards. For more information, visit https://

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Dates to Remember August 9th Book Lovers Day 15th International Homeless Animals Day 17th National Non-profit Day 26th Women's Equality Day 28th National Weed Out Hate Day Children's Vision & Learning Month Get Ready for Kindergarten Month National Minority Donor Awareness Month National Truancy Prevention Month

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“The principle goal of education in the schools should be creating men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done.” — Jean Piaget Follow NCAE events and activities on:



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., Raleigh, NC 27601, 1-800-662-7924. Linda Powell-Jones, Editor/Designer

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