The North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) is hard at work promoting their teacher walkout for May Day. The May 1 (May Day) date, often referred to as Workers’ Day, is linked to socialist and communist movements to organize labor against management. There is nothing inherently wrong with workers advocating for better treatment and better pay, but the May 1 teacher proposed walkout is extremely problematic for a host of reasons. One major issue is that more than one million kids are going to miss school that day across our state.
This from Mark Johnson, North Carolina’s superintendent of public instruction:
On top of that, the closing of school should be a last resort. Schools should be closed when it’s in the best interest and safety of the students. Political agitation led by a group seeking to divide the state politically (more on that below) is a terrible reason to shut down schools. I can’t imagine the vast majority of principals and superintendents are in favor of this walkout, given that they are accountable to more than merely pleasing some of the politically motivated staff.
The NCAE itself is known for embracing Marxist symbolism too, as Chad Adams points out here:
Sometimes even sympathetic messaging collapses under the wrong kind of symbols.
If you want to be socialist or engage in activism sympathetic to Marxism, that’s your right as an American, but don’t do it on taxpayer time and don’t punish students and children for those antics.
Most importantly, North Carolina is a right to work state and is not known for its labor agitation and agenda. People here are not used to groups coming in and pitting workers against management. If it feels out of place for a reason, because this kind of symbolism is out of place in our state.
Teacher pay is an important issue and you can read some of Bob Luebke’s recent commentary on that topic here and here. Pay for teachers in the state now ranks 2nd in the Southeast and 20th nationally after the cost of living is factored into the equation. Brooke Medina and I talk about teacher pay frequently on the Civitalk podcast as well. We love and admire teachers not only because like most, we have educators in our family, but we cherish learning and are always seeking to expand our knowledge base.
At any rate, I think Mark Johnson has struck the right tone with his response to the May walkout. Protests are a right but in this case, should only come after the interests of students and taxpayers.
It’s political suicide to take on “teachers,” just about everybody knows that’s it’s counterproductive too, but one shouldn’t be afraid to call out the NCAE for this kind of perpetual political agitation that seeks to divide us and ends up harming students. Not to mention the severe inconvenience to working parents, many of whom, are already struggling to scrape by to support their family.