NEWS BULLETIN December
NORTH CAROLINA ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS
Volume 47, No. 5
Wishing You a Happy Holiday Season!
Focusing on the Fight! Although things didn’t turn out the way many of us would have liked during the election, I can honestly say it felt good to vote against Donald Trump and all he represented. As I waited to cast my vote I thought to myself, “This will soon be over and he will be a distant memory.” But Mark Jewell the reality is he is preparing to President lead this country for the next four years. We may not know what that looks like, but I do know what we as educators need to do… In the words of our NEA president, Lily EskelsenGarcia, “we’re going to continue to stand up and fight for our students and public education, we will not be silent, and we are going to rise and resist!” As sad as it was losing the White House to Trump, we should be equally ecstatic about having Roy Cooper as our next governor, Josh Stein as our next attorney general, and Mike Morgan as a justice on the North Carolina Supreme Court. These were three key races that NCAE focused on in the state and we have won all three! These victories clearly lay at the feet of NCAE and you, the members out there, who worked so hard to galvanize in your communities, knock on doors, make phone calls, and attend events to speak on behalf of these candidates. The leadership knows how hard and difficult things were at times, but you didn’t give up. You should feel very proud of the fact that you made a huge difference in the outcome of the election here in North Carolina. The results could have easily been shifted in another direction! Celebrations are in order; however, it’s time for us to get to
work. In January, the General Assembly will convene for the long session. The supermajority still exists and in some instances they have made clear their intent to continue to dismantle public education. We must turn our focus on the fight and carry the mantle of optimism the three races we won brings with it. In order to accomplish what we need to, we must continue to be supportive of these newly elected officials and have an engaged membership. I look at this as a charge for our leaders – on the state and local levels – to encourage those who are not a part of NCAE to join us, now more than ever. The realization is that this organization has power and is a strong influencer in elections and policy. More than ever, we need educators who will be active because the fight and the struggle will only increase. We must be there to work with these officials and be that thin blue line to push back some horrific policies that we feel will be coming down the pipe as well as push through some of the strong policies we want, such as better compensation for ALL educators, better resources for our students, and better public schools overall. Sitting on the sidelines is not an option, and neither is waiting for someone else to make the first move. NCAE is the state’s largest education advocacy organization and others are looking to us to lead the charge. We can’t just twiddle our thumbs and see how things work out because the sad reality is our children will be the ones who will suffer while the experimenting and unaccountable and unregulated profiteering takes place! That’s not going to happen on my watch and I hope you won’t let it happen on yours. North Carolina is better than this. So let’s rise and continue the fight with every ounce of passion and conviction that we have!
REMINDER...Forms Due January 10
Are You Considering Running for an NCAE Office? If you are interested in running for an NCAE state office next year, January 10 is the deadline to have all forms submitted. Forms for all positions are available by clicking here. The positions that are available include the following: • • • • • •
NEA directors Regional directors NEA delegate positions Offices within the Principals/Administrators Division Offices within the Education Support Professionals Division Offices within the Student Services Division
Forms for candidates running for NEA directors, regional directors, and division offices MUST be accompanied by an
official NCAE biographical form, personal statement, and a professional-quality photograph. All materials should be sent to email@example.com. You may print a copy of your form, which must be submitted via certified mail and postmarked on or before January 10, 2017. Information submitted after the January 10 deadline, or without all of the proper documentation, will not be published in the NCAE News Bulletin. If you have questions, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Derevana Leach at 1-800-662-7924, ext. 203. NOTE: The NCAE Board of Directors has allocated March 25-30, 2017, as the days members will vote on the above officers.
NCAE Stands Ready to Work With Pro-Public Education Election Winners Roy Cooper, Josh Stein, and Judge Mike Morgan
Governor-Elect Roy Cooper
Governor-Elect Roy Cooper
Attorney General-Elect Josh Stein
On December 5, Gov. Pat McCrory conceded the election to Governor-Elect Roy Cooper, who led by more than 10,000 votes as a final Durham recount was underway, but all other protests had either been dealt with or dismissed. Gov. McCrory could have requested a statewide recount if the total dropped below 10,000. In a video statement, McCrory said, “Despite continued questions that should be answered regarding the voting process, I personally believe that the majority of our citizens have spoken, and we now should do everything we can to support the 75th governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper.” Since the last newsletter when the governor’s race was too close to call, with Roy Cooper leading by less than 5,000 votes, his lead more than doubled over the last month with absentee and provisional votes. On multiple occasions, NCAE called on Gov. McCrory to concede the election and allow the state to move forward with Governor-Elect Cooper. “Educators across North Carolina congratulate GovernorElect Cooper on an outstanding victory,” said NCAE President Mark Jewell. “We look forward to a champion for public school students and educators in the governor’s office. We are glad the election stall tactics have come to an end because North Carolina educators are Ready for Roy.”
Judge Mike Morgan N.C. Supreme Court
While this election saga has concluded, Gov. McCrory has called the General Assembly in for a special session on December 13 to address disaster relief for the communities impacted by Hurricane Matthew and western N.C. wildfires. Lawmakers are expected to consider a financial package to help those areas recover and they are expected to wave school calendar requirements for those school districts affected. NCAE is paying close attention to the chance lawmakers try to divert from these two objectives and pass a Supreme Court packing scheme. NCAE-endorsed Judge Mike Morgan won the N.C. Supreme Court race, which flips the current 4-3 Republican majority court. Some political watchers are speculating that the Republican-controlled Legislature will use constitutional maneuvering to add two justices to the court, which would be appointed by Gov. McCrory before he leaves office. This would be an assault on the will of voters and adamantly opposed by NCAE. Lawmakers will convene for their regular “long” session on January 11. One issue they will have to deal with is a federal court order requiring them to redraw legislative districts that were racially gerrymandered. The redrawing of districts will result in a special election in the fall of next year.
Members Provide Feedback on ESSA NCAE recently conducted a second survey for members to provide feedback on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) using the same questions that were asked of the North Carolina ESSA Stakeholders groups. The survey, which was completed by approximately 655 participants, was distributed via Survey Monkey on November 16 and concluded on November 28. As the State Board of Education moves forward with implementing ESSA in North Carolina, the Association hopes the information provided in the survey will assist in the decision-making process. To view the results, click here.
More Deliveries Made to Locals Affected by Hurricane Matthew Wayne County NCAE President LaShaundon Perkins and a group of members were on hand to receive the much needed donations. Patrick Holmes, center, the public information officer for Lenoir County Schools, and Mr. Carmelo, thank Vice President Kristy Moore for NCAE’s generosity.
Local President Cynthia Pitt knows how important the donations will be to the students and educators in Edgecombe County.
UniServ Director Dorsey Harris accepts school supplies donated by the Lejeune Education Association and the Lejeune Education Support Association for educators and students in Edgecombe County.
What Are YOU Willing to Do for Others? Each of us has something to contribute to the communities in which we live. Whether it’s helping to beautify a playground, feeding the hungry, or visiting the elderly, there’s no better day to get involved than on January 16 – the 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was not only a civil rights icon, he was a dedicated servant of the people who believed in a nation of freedom and justice for all. He encouraged all citizens to live up to the purpose and potential of America by applying the principles of
non-violence to make our country a better place to live. This federal holiday is a perfect opportunity for educators, and students, to honor his legacy. And, it helps empower us as individuals, strengthen our communities, and bridge barriers. Nineteen hundred eighty-three (1983) earmarks the year that Dr. King’s birthday became a federal holiday, after a lengthy struggle to get legislation passed. In 1994, Congress designated the MLK Federal Holiday as a national day of service, which takes place each year on the third Monday in January. It’s the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service and should be viewed as a “day on, not a day off.”
People of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities can get involved. To find volunteer opportunities in your community, or for information on how to plan your own project, visit https:// www.nationalservice.gov/specialinitiatives/days-service/martin-lutherking-jr-day-of-service. Just fill in your zip code in the “Find a Project” box.
Changes Being Made to Retirement System’s Record-Keeping Services
The N.C. Retirement System is in the process of transitioning record-keeping services for the NC 403(b) Program from TIAA to Prudential, which will bring enhanced plan features, Web capabilities, and an increased field presence to this awardwinning program. The primary goal remains the same – retirement readiness for ALL N.C. public servants. TIAA initially launched the NC 403(b) Program in 2014. With oversight from the N.C. Supplemental Retirement Board of Trustees, the Retirement Systems Division is undergoing contract negotiations for record-keeping services with Prudential. Prudential currently serves as a partner vendor for record-keeping and educational services for nearly 300,000 NC 401(k) and NC 457 Plan participants. The transition to a new provider for the NC 403(b) Program record-keeping services will take place in February 2017. At this time, no action is needed on your part. NC 403(b) Program participants will continue to have their account funds invested as they have selected, payroll contributions will remain unchanged, and the plan features and benefits participants enjoy will also remain in place. No action is needed at this time with regard to payroll contributions or administration. This information has been communicated to NC 403(b) participants.
During the transition period, your TIAA representative will continue to provide administrative, outreach, and customer assistance for you, as an NC 403(b) Program manager. After the transition to Prudential, school districts and community colleges that offer the NC 403(b) Program will benefit from access to a single vendor partner record-keeper across all three of the NC Total Retirement Plans supplemental offerings – the NC 401(k) and NC 457 Plans and NC 403(b) Program. School districts, as plan sponsors, will have access to a simplified plan administration and remittance process. Participants and employers will benefit from improved customer experiences and from economies of scale, as the network of Prudential’s retirement educational consultants casts a wider net across the state. In addition, Prudential, which operates a Raleigh-based office in support of the NC 401(k) and NC 457 Plans, also operates a fully staffed call center with retirement education counselors who will be available to assist NC 403(b) participants and employers. Participants will continue to benefit from very competitive fees, and those who have savings in two or more of the N.C. Total Retirement Supplemental plans can simplify their retirement planning by accessing all account information in one Web site portal and within one consolidated monthly statement. Rather than fees calculated as a percentage of the balance on individual accounts, as is the case now with TIAA, Prudential will assess a single, annual fee per account, of $31. This fee will be the same for each participant, regardless of the balance on his/her account. For questions or more information, call 1-877-627-3287.
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Schools Honored for Top Gradua3on Rates Twelve school districts and 70 individual schools in North Carolina were recently recognized as having the highest graduation rates in 2016 at an awards luncheon in Research Triangle Park. They are among the state’s largest and smallest and stretch from the Tennessee border to the Outer Banks. According to DPI, the state’s four-year cohort graduation rate has climbed from 68.3 percent in 2006 to 85.9 percent in 2016. In addition, 73 other schools with four-year cohort graduation rates of at least 95 percent will receive a letter and certificate. To view a list, click here.
Winter-Themed Classroom Resources Though some of us will not get snow this winter, we share other annual changes. These lessons, activities, and other resources will help develop an understanding of the mechanisms that bring about seasonal change and how animals have adapted to them. Find lessons on topics such as “Reasons for the Seasons, “Blizzards and Winter Weather,” and “How Hibernation Works.” Click here for more information.
Members Share Their Holiday “Wish List” The year is winding down and thoughts are turning to the long holiday break that will soon take place. The hustle and bustle of shopping has begun, travel plans are being made, and everyone is wondering if they will be lucky enough to see the first snow of the season. As this festive time of year ushers in, members were asked to share some of the things on their holiday “wish list.” Here is what a few of you had to say: “I wish for an educational system that is not built around a ‘one size fits all’ model. One that recognizes there is no middle because teaching to the middle is making an assumption about who is in the middle. I also wish for options that would let students move around throughout the day. Some students have more energy than others. Creative classroom activities introduce more physical interactions in the classroom.” -- Rochelle Newton, Durham County “I wish that students would respect the educational opportunities that teachers inspire and provide through daily lessons.” -Alice Sallins, Ph.D., Vance County
“I would like for my students to prove their peers and other teachers wrong by showing an incredible amount of growth. I would also love to get more rest!” -- Adrienne Pandy, Gaston County
“Closure in the turmoil educators are facing in this country right now and the safety of my three children are two things I am wishing for this holiday season.” -- Marilia Carter, Newton-Conover City
CAN’T SLEEP? PROBLEM SOLVED! Educators are among the most sleepdeprived workers in America, along with pilots and physicians. A survey conducted by Ball State University researchers found 43 percent of teachers sleep on average only six hours or less each night. And 64 percent say they feel drowsy the next day. Getting enough zzzz’s is critical to maintain good health and effectively educate students. Here are common sleep problems facing educators, and potential solutions, courtesy of NEA Member Benefits: PROBLEM – You have trouble turning off your brain and falling asleep. SOLUTION – Don’t use bedtime as a time to stress about the coming day or week. Instead, experts suggest scheduling “worry time” during the day, and then turning your attention to
something visual (and calming) that doesn’t involve thoughts or words. PROBLEM – You fall asleep, but within minutes or hours, you’re tossing and turning all night long. SOLUTION – Establish a relaxing bedtime routine – anything from a warm bath to meditating – and make your bedroom a work-free zone (no grading papers in bed!). Experts advise not to eat late in the day or consume caffeine after noon. Turn off the computer, cellphone, and television at least an hour before turning in. PROBLEM – You seem to sleep through the night, but you’re still dragging the next day. SOLUTION – Try to pinpoint what’s causing the problem (uncomfortable mattress? Stiff sheets?), and in the interim, go for brisk walk outdoors;
sunlight suppresses the body’s release of the sleep hormone melatonin. Plus, fresh air helps you stay awake and energized. If you’re suffering from persistent sleep problems, visit your doctor to check if there’s a medical issue, such as sleep apnea. For more sleep tips, visit www.bit.ly/1ZpTq1u.
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N C A E
N E W S
December 7th National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day 10th Human Rights Day 21st Winter Solstice 26th-30th NCAE Winter Break (All Offices Closed) 31st New Year’s Eve Universal Human Rights Month
January 2017 1st 16th 20th 23rd 29th
New Year’s Day Martin Luther King Day (NCAE Offices Closed) Inauguration Day National Handwriting Day National Puzzle Day
Book Blitz Month International Creativity Month National Poverty in America Awareness Month
“We have a responsibility to ensure that every individual has the opportunity to receive a high-quality education, from pre-kindergarten to elementary and secondary, to special education, to technical and higher education and beyond.” -- Jim Jeffords
B U L L E T I N
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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. www.ncae.org
Linda Powell-Jones, Editor/Designer
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The NCAE News Bulletin is the official publication of the North Carolina Association of Educators.