September 2021 NCAE News Bulletin

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NCAE North Carolina Association of Educators

News Bulletin Sept. 2021

Vol. 52, No. 2

The Budget Woes Continue

Will This Be the Year Our Students Become a Priority?

See page 3 for more details

NCAE News Bulletin


Building a Sustainable Foundation Classrooms are now decorated. Welcome back orientations are complete. Students have returned and learning has begun. Now it’s time to set the foundation groundwork for the remainder of Tamika Walker Kelly

the year.

President One of the most important foundations we as educators can establish is relationships with our students. We must create community in our classrooms and in our schools, not only with the children we educate, but with our colleagues as well.

As members of NCAE, those relationships should stretch even further to include our new members, our existing members, and those who are stepping into new leadership roles. It’s a time for welcoming new ideas, new perspectives, and continuing the work that will bring us success on this journey. And, as we wait for a state budget, it’s a time to leverage relationships with lawmakers and let them know the importance of funding public education.

We must continue to tell our stories of “why” we chose this profession and why it means so much to us. We must continue to share why there needs to be a highly qualified teacher at the front of every classroom, why we need more support professionals such as social workers, psychologists, and school nurses, and why we need more

bus drivers to ensure our students get to and from school safely.

We must rally around the fact more resources are needed in order for our students to be competitive in the future, we must stress that our crumbling school buildings need to be replaced with new structures that contain all of the bells and whistles children need to be successful, and we must demand solutions that will help retain the great educators who currently call North Carolina home as well as grow our own and attract new ones into the fold.

I know you have heard this all before, and it may seem like a daunting task to accomplish, but it’s part of what we signed up for when we decided to walk this path. Engaging and organizing around these issues has become second nature to us and has helped us change the landscape of public education in so many ways. We’ve been able to make huge strides because of the skill sets and knowledge that each of us possesses. The momentum we’ve created together will continue to serve us well in the long haul.

Each of us has something to contribute. For some people, it’s stepping into the spotlight as a local leader; for others, it’s working quietly behind the scenes. If you haven’t yet discovered your place within the Association, know that there is one here for you. There’s always space at NCAE for you to grow that will not only benefit you as an individual but will benefit you as a practitioner of education and your work environment.

No matter what your role, whether custodian, classroom teacher, or administrator, the beginning of this new school year will help lay a foundation on which you can build. The Association will always be a resource where you can receive the tools and support you need to help on your professional and personal journey. Just let us know how we can be of assistance!

Click here for lessons and resources

NCAE News Bulletin


No Budget Release Date Set

NCAE Shares Budget Priorities

with Conference Committee

Conference Committee members are currently in negotiations on the Conference Report, which will become the final budget bill, and the House and Senate are working to clear a number of bills that have been languishing for months. Several bills have been passed and sent to Governor Cooper for his signature, and more are coming closer to that goal. We anticipate a final budget will be completed by midSeptember.

Following are budget items that have been submitted to some legislative leaders and members of the Conference Committee. They include some of the Association’s top priorities for the final budget, items we would like kept in the final budget, and bad policies that we would like to see removed from the Conference Report or final budget bill.

Top Priorities

Three of the Association’s top priorities are:

•Pay ESPs $15 per hour beginning in 2021-22

•Restore master’s pay

•All step increases should be no less than a minimum average of 5 percent

Other Compensation Issues Include:

•Provide retirees with a COLA or a minimum raise of the 2 percent one-time supplement (bonus)

•Increase in community college regular staff salaries

•Maintain the increase in the psychologist salary schedule

•Maintain moving counselors to the psychologist salary schedule

•Hold principal’s pay harmless

•Paid paternal leave for educators

•Maintain the increase in the assistant principal’s salary schedule

•Capital funding for K-12 schools, including annual renovation and repairs funding based on the House budget

Key Positions That NCAE Hopes Will Remain in the Final Budget

•Provide funding ($1 billion) for broadband, especially in rural areas based on the House budget

•Provide personal leave with no sub fee deduction

•Expanding funding for transportation for homeless and foster care students

•Increase funding for Students with Disabilities

Bad Policies NCAE Hopes to See Removed from the Final Budget

The top three items are:

•Academic Transparency Provisions – Incorporates provisions from H755: Academic Transparency to require website posting of a synopsis of all instructional material used in the previous year by all teachers.

•Modernize Selection of Instructional Materials – Requires local school boards to maintain a repository of adopted instructional materials and create a local media advisory committee to evaluate parent/public challenges of instructional materials. Also allows parents to opt their student out of health/safety education.

•Standards of Student Conduct – Incorporates provisions from H247: Standards of Student Conduct to require consultation with local law enforcement in establishing discipline policies.

Bad policies that are still of concern include:

•Uniform private school testing – By allowing private and charter schools to use different options, there is no way to directly compare results from public schools.

•Making virtual charter school funding permanent – Virtual charters share many of the same shortcomings as regular charter schools, including a lack of transparency, limited educational and operational oversight, and the continued misdirection of public funds.

•Private school vouchers – NCAE opposes the allocation of public money that could be used for the many needs of our public school system instead of giving it to private schools that are allowed to discriminate in their admissions process.

•Fast tracking charter schools – Charter schools require more oversight and regulation, not less.

•Special education hearing officers are being eliminated in the hearings process for parents, when there are disputes involving students with special needs.

Click here for a list of Conference Committee members. Please contact them on the importance of a pro-public education budget. We will continue to keep you updated throughout the process and share when a final budget is passed.

NCAE News Bulletin


Members Weigh In …

How Do We Solve the Educator Shortage in North Carolina?

If we put you, our members, in a room and asked you to solve what ails public education, we expect that you would produce an amazing list of recommendations! While we know you can’t physically come together to brainstorm, we did solicit answers to the following question – “What do you think needs to be done to eliminate the educator shortage in North Carolina?”

According to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, more than 10 percent of classrooms in some rural counties in 2019-2020 (the latest year reported) went more than 40 days into the new school year without a licensed permanent teacher.
 Person County in Region 4, located near the Virginia border, had the state’s highest teacher vacancy rate in 2019-2020, with 13.1 percent of classrooms operating for 40-plus days without a licensed, permanent teacher. Other counties with high vacancy rates were Anson, Northampton, Halifax, and Vance counties. To see vacancies in your district, visit your district’s website.

We appreciate all of the responses received. Here are a few of the comments that were shared:

“Salary would be a key factor in keeping veteran teachers and encouraging new graduates to take up the teaching profession. I miss the old step system we had when I first began. We had EOG bonuses, longevity, incentives that made me feel like doing my best would get a side benefit of a bit more financial gain. It's amazing how close the salary of a new teacher and a veteran truly are - and the 10-year gap with no raise; I don't need to say anything else.” — Bobby Blankenship, Wilkes County

“Higher pay, more autonomy, fewer non-academic responsibilities; real protections from nepotism, retaliation and abuse of position.” — Lorry Henry, Brunswick County

“It’s probably tough to retain teachers based on salary alone and benefits. They are reasonable when you first start and you are single. But especially for men trying to be the breadwinner, it is tough. I have four kids and my salary is so low my kids qualify for Medicaid and they qualified for WIC benefits when they were under 5. If my wife worked in the past, she would barely break even on daycare costs and at one point, daycare would have cost more than working. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be a single parent.” — Randy Eich, Union County

“One way to help end the teacher shortage is to provide a step increase and wage increase to teachers who choose to stay in the classroom beyond 25 years. This is my 36th year in the classroom. I haven't had a pay raise in many years due to the General Assembly wanting to increase the starting pay of teachers. Teachers start out with a good base salary but once they start to have a family, make a house payment, and all the extra duties that come with working in a school, teachers choose to have more regular hours due to having a family. After a few years, teachers grow tired of the additional expectations added on and the pay doesn't increase much. Please reward experienced teachers that want to remain in education even after 25 years of instruction. We feel like we are being forgotten and stepped over.” — Donna Whitfield, Washington County

“If we want teachers to stay in the profession in North Carolina, we must once again show them that they are valued, trusted professionals. We must increase our per-pupil-spending and bring back school support specialists, teacher assistants, social workers, and school nurses. I warrant that many folks think our schools still have the same support they enjoyed and benefited from when they were in school; they would feel shocked that those supports have gone extinct. If North Carolina really wanted to ensure every student had a qualified teacher in front of students, they could. It is a matter of will, a choice. Because there are simple steps related to funding our public schools that the NCGA has elected not to pursue to address the "teacher shortage" it becomes clear that it is by design. We must then question, to what end?” — Jonathan Ball, Guilford County

(Click here to read more comments)

NCAE News Bulletin


Margaret Powell


argaret Powell, a data manager in Wake County, found that engaging with other ESPs connected her with professional development opportunities and empowered her to advocate for her students.

“As an education support professional, my work directly impacts how students are viewed via their data. It’s my responsibility to maintain accurate and updated information, which gives us insight on what a student needs. For example, the data I manage helps educators identify instructional needs, sanitation and health needs, and supplemental community resources—and this work is important.

“I remember meeting one of my former special need students managing a local gas station. That instance reminded me that every student can grow up to be successful with strong educators supporting them.

“And my union has supported me along the way. When I first joined the association, I had some hesitation. I had a young family. I was working every day and going to school for my bachelor’s degree, but the association’s core beliefs were tied to what was important to me: building community, making sure our students had access to a great education, and ensuring our teachers had what they needed to support our kids.

“Every training and event hosted by the state and national associations gave me the tools I needed to speak up about what we wanted for our building, professional development opportunities for ESPs in my district were typically left out of the equation. By being vocal, we were soon invited to participate in sessions that helped us support our students and colleagues better. I learned how to really understand the policies that govern our work and how to operate around those policies to bring educators together and create change. The one event that helped solidify my commitment to the Association was my firstever ESP Conference.

“It was empowering to be in that space with other educators who do what I do. A lot of times you hear people talk about ‘teacher this and teacher that.’ At the conference, there were hundreds of ESPs who were bosses in their own right, engaging the Association on different levels. From there on, I felt like I could never not be a part of the Association.” (Reprinted from NEAToday)

Amy Lunsford is the media specialist at Woodfin Elementary School in Buncombe County. She demonstrates leadership daily in her school community by nurturing students’ love of reading and wearing ALL the hats. She is often seen in many capacities around the school, whether it is welcoming students as they walk in the door, safely getting them into their cars, or leading small reading groups in their classroom. Her uplifting presence often greets the whole school during the morning announcements as she helps students and staff get their day started off with a smile.

An educator for 12 years, Lunsford believes in the power of an educated public. “In any country wishing to be considered great, a free, public education is essential and should be a right. I grew up with great educators in my family. My grandmother was one of the last teachers in a one-room schoolhouse in rural Kansas. My aunt taught third grade for almost 40 years. My mother-in-law taught first grade for more than 30 years. My husband is a high school math teacher in Buncombe County, and I am proud our two boys are also being educated in our public schools.

“When people ask what I do for a living, I tell them I have the best job in the school building as a media specialist. I have the joy of exposing children to the magic of reading and help them develop an appreciation for books.”

NCAE News Bulletin


Rodney Pierce stands in the hallway of the school where he teaches social studies. Photo: Cornell Watson Photography

The Moral Panic Over Critical Race Theory

is Coming for a North Carolina Teacher of the Year

How Rodney D. Pierce “started to feel like a target”

In the first week of classes in August, Rodney Pierce, a social studies teacher at Red Oak Middle School in Battleboro, North Carolina, set the stage for his eighth graders by sharing a quote from James Baldwin: “American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it.” Pierce told the students they were going to learn about both the “beautiful and horrifying parts” of the state and country’s past. “We need to talk about all of it,” he explains, “because that is American history.”

The fight over how to teach American history to children – a long battle that has frothed into a particularly acute moral panic today – often comes back to whose history is being discussed. For Pierce, a Black teacher of many Black students, it’s impossible to avoid racism. For years, he has spoken openly about this in the concrete and the local: the town names, the monuments to Confederates, the horrific lynchings. He has gone above his mandate of teaching to the test because the test did not include the explanations of events that led to the world his students inhabit. He was

rewarded by earning social studies teacher of the year in 2019 and has been tasked with helping write the new standards for the state to make sure others follow his lead.

But lately, Pierce’s “speak my truth and be upfront about it” approach has been drawing more backlash than ever before. In the past year, parents have complained to school administrators about a perceived political slant in his work. When he repeated something former President Donald Trump said verbatim, they accused him of lying. Some claim he has insisted on talking about slavery – and that this has made students disenchanted. “They’re really reaching for anything they can get on me,” Pierce says. “I started feeling like a target.”

Pierce is a member of NCAE. He has taught social studies for six years and is only one of 11 Black teachers out of the school’s 45-teacher workforce. To read more of his story, click here. To also read an editorial piece by NCAE member Tripp Jeffers on critical race theory, click here.

Excerpts reprinted with permission of Mother Jones Magazine

NCAE News Bulletin


Two Years In, Guilford County Member is Off and Running as an AR

Samantha Patino-Perez said she has always kept abreast of education issues, even before her calling to become a teacher. But on May 16, 2018, things took an entirely different turn. The seriousness of wanting to become involved and do more as an NCAE member became real, so she stepped up and became an association rep two years into the profession.

A math teacher at the Early Middle College (Guilford Technical Community College Jamestown) in Guilford County, Patino-Perez credits co-worker Sarah Jones for her influence. “Sarah has such a passion for this work, and little by little she got me involved. I wasn’t a member my first year of teaching because of finances, but last year I joined, we began teaching completely online due to the pandemic, and everything kind of felt like it was on fire. The changes that were occurring to public education due to COVID was the opportunity I needed to get involved.”

Patino-Perez took the place of Jones as association rep at Early Middle College after Jones transitioned into a new role within GCAE.

Jones was not the only person who had an influence on Patino-Perez; her mother, Rosa, played an instrumental role as well. “My mother worked as a custodian 13 years for Guilford County Schools. Everyone loved her, especially the students, and she loved her work. Seeing how influential my mother was in a role that I guess I never thought

would be that influential to so many people was humbling.”

An immigrant with a 3-month-old at the time who spoke no English, Patino-Perez said her mother grew from a woman who was afraid to venture out due to the language barrier and who couldn’t drive, to attending school, getting a driver’s license, becoming a U.S. citizen, and obtaining a job as a school custodian. She worked hard and eventually worked up the courage to ask for a raise because she felt she was deserving. Unfortunately, she left the school system and took a job with UNC-Greensboro for better pay.

“Although she did not want to leave the school, my mother knew she was deserving of a better salary, and she believes that everyone should have the same opportunity. Like her, I am someone who cares about fighting for the rights of everyone and what she endured was also a motivating factor for me.”

When asked to speak in front of county commissioners earlier this year about implementing a $15 per hour

minimum wage for Guilford County classified staff, Patino-Perez shared her mother’s story without hesitation. “I asked her if she was comfortable with me doing so and she was so excited! She insisted that I tell her story because she knew that if she was forced to leave a job she loved for equitable, fair pay then others were probably having to do the same.” GCAE has for months been rallying county officials for a $15 per hour living wage for all district employees. Plans to do so will take place this school year for bus drivers and food service workers via raises and bonuses.

Patino-Perez said her mother also influenced her desire to become a teacher, as well as others within the schools she attended as a child. “Seeing my mom be that person for others made me want to do the same. I had so many positive people who were there for me and I think it served as a fundamental value to me becoming the person I am today. The support I received growing up is something that I wish for every child. I hope I am that person for my students.”

Tuesday, September 28, 2021


NCAE News Bulletin


NCAE UniServ Staff at a Glance

NCAE has five UniServ directors and a UniServ field organizer who serve as liaisons between local affiliates, the Association, and NEA. Each UniServ is assigned to a specific region and works with members on employment issues, evaluation appeals, legal matters, and grievances, just to name a few. They also advocate for members’ rights, engage in organizing planning and implementation, help build organizational capacity, provide professional development trainings, and share information pertinent to educators. Your working conditions are your students learning conditions. Like you, NCAE wants both to be the best they can be!

City School Systems: Asheboro – Region 4 Asheville – Region 1A Chapel Hill-Carrboro – Region 4 Clinton – Region 6 Elkin – Region 2 Hickory – Region 1B Kannapolis – Region 3 Lexington – Region 2 Mooresville – Region 2 Mt. Airy – Region 2 Newton-Conover – Region 1B Roanoke Rapids – Region 7A Thomasville – Region 2 Weldon – Region 7A Whiteville – Region 6

Saul Olvera

Naomi Chisolm

Regions 1A and 1B

800-635-3387, (704) 370-1015

Region 6

800-635-9153, (910) 826-6890

Daniel Foreman

Deborah Harris Ivery

Region 2

800-635-3386, (336) 794-3123

Regions 7A and 7B

800-662-7924, (919) 832-3000

Tyrone Melton

Norma Reaves

Region 4

800-635-3386, (336) 794-3123

(Regions 3 and 5

are currently vacant)

UniServ field organizer/

NCAE and NEA Member Benefits

800-662-7924, (919) 832-3000

NCAE News Bulletin


Coffee Anyone? Cup of Joe Helps Fuel Membership Recruitment! School is in session and membership recruitment efforts are underway! In some locals, members have gotten creative and hosted “coffee bars” to kick off the new year. (A) Robeson County member Katie Ingram brought in her espresso machine and made everyone specialty drinks, signing up one new member. (B) At W.H. Knuckles Elementary, also in Robeson County, building leader Celestine Frazer organized a back-toschool coffee bar and recruited four of her coworkers. (C) Members Allison Lashford and Mary Whitehead at Ashley High School in New Hanover County, hosted a coffee/donut bar and engaged 17 potential members who wanted to learn more about NCAE and joining.



Have a Great Story Idea for the Bulletin?

Let Us Hear from You!

The third cohort of the Educators of Color Academy kicked off this year with a recent training in Raleigh, where the group delved into trauma-informed practices with a book study titled Fostering Resilient Learners: Strategies for Creating a Trauma Sensitive Classroom. The focus of the meeting also covered educator resilience and ended with all three cohorts participating in a Kijiji gathering. The EOC Academy was developed to recruit and retain educators of color in the field of education in North Carolina. It is being supported by a three-year grant awarded to NCAE by the NEA Great Public Schools Fund. Open to members of color, the Academy provides participants with support and instructional practices to implement in their schools, conduct community forums on the value and importance of educators of color, and serve as trainers and mentors.

Do you know members who are doing interesting or innovative work? Does your local affiliate have a success story to share? Do you have tips on teaching and learning that could help other educators? Or is there an important issue that you think the NCAE News Bulletin should cover? If so, we would love to know more. To submit your idea, complete the online form by clicking the link below.

NCAE News Bulletin Story Idea Submission Form




In the August News Bulletin, new staff member Valerie Warren’s job title was listed incorrectly. She is the chief data officer for NCAE.

NCAE News Bulletin


NCAE News Bulletin


Not Again! How to Keep from Overextending Yourself This Year When asked to take on a new project or role at her school, Kasey Short’s first thought is always “YES!”

That’s usually the case for teachers, who, like Short, a sixth-grade humanities teacher in North Carolina, often add to their regular workload by enthusiastically saying yes to extra duties and extracurriculars at the beginning of the school year. But taking on too many responsibilities and being overly ambitious leaves many teachers burned out by October—the infamous fall slump.

According to new research on teacher retention, one of the most consistent predictors of teachers leaving the occupation is the overwhelming number of additional job duties they take on, like serving on various committees or filling administrative tasks, says Brian Swider, an associate professor at the University of Florida’s Warrington School of Business and a coauthor of the study. These nonteaching roles have only increased during the pandemic due to additional safety measures that schools have adopted to protect students’ health. Nearly one in four teachers -compared with one in six teachers prior to the pandemic -said that they were likely to leave their jobs by the end of the 2020–2021 school year, another study finds.

Seven strategies that may be helpful include:

•A simple method to say “No”

•Commit to less grading

•Recognize productivity guilt – and ditch it!

•Set clear precedents early

•Simplify communications and tighten meetings

•Be selective with tech tools

•Don’t forget your colleagues

NCFPSC: Making An Impact

in Students’ Lives Every Day Sixth-grader Carlos (name has been changed to protect privacy) moved to North Carolina from Mexico. Carlos has Cerebral Palsy. His feet point downward and are bent inward, which prevents him from walking unaided. Carlos' family struggles financially and do not have the means to purchase equipment he needs. To get to school, Carlos must be transported in a manual wheelchair -- and it is in that wheelchair he must stay throughout the school day, even when his class goes outdoors for recreation.

Carlos' public school physical therapist learned about the Foundation while searching for help. She knows if Carlos were to be fitted with just the right orthotics, he can walk independently, his confidence will grow in the classroom, and his educational experience will be impacted significantly.

The Foundation received the request to help Carlos and responded. Carlos has been fitted for bilateral ankle and foot orthotics and started seventh grade WALKING into the classroom! Thank you for partnering with the NC Foundation for Public School Children to give Carlos the opportunities and love he deserves. For more information or to contribute, click here.

To read more, click here.

As you jump into a new school year, we want to say thank you for all you do. Your dedication to your students’ futures has a lasting impact far beyond when they leave your classroom.

2021 Virtual Color of Education Summit

Horace Mann is a long-time NCAE supporter, and we want to help make sure you put that same amount of dedication into your own future. Contact your local Horace Mann representative to set up some time to review your insurance needs and make sure you’re on the right track.

We’re so excited about this back-to-school season! AM-C04580 (July 21)

Thank you for making a difference every single day.

October 26-27

Tickets are available now!

NCAE News Bulletin



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for NEA Members NEA Discount Marketplace

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Dates to Remember September

5th 6th 12th 15th 17th 18th 21st 22nd 28th 29th

International Day of Charity Link

Labor Day (NCAE Offices Closed)

National Day of Encouragement

International Day of Democracy

SNCAE Leadership Conference (concludes on

the 18th)

National Respect Day

International Day of Peace

First Day of Autumn

National Voter Registration Day

International Coffee Day Link

National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15October 15)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Month

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month Link

International Speak Out Month

National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month Link

National Suicide Prevention Month Link

Youth Leadership Month

“Early childhood education remains one of the strongest investments we can make in the long-term success of our students and the long-term economic strength of our communities.” — Abigail Spanberger 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, Editor/Designer

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