Sunday, June 5, 2011

NC House Speaker Thom Tillis Says Educators Don't Care About Kids

Across the United States, politicians have decided that it is permissible to mis-characterize educators and educator organizations instead of listening to them. This past Saturday, and the North Carolina GOP Convention in Wilmington, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis took an opportunity to take a jab at the North Carolina Association of Educators, and perhaps by default educators everywhere in our state by making the following remarks as described in this Charlotte Observer article.

  • Tillis drew applause also when he said the budget cut one-third of the staff of the State Department of Public Instruction.
  • Tillis also drew applause for bragging about a bill that would bar the state from collecting dues for the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE).
  • Tillis added: "They (speaking specifically about NCAE) don't care about kids. They don't care about classrooms. They care only about their jobs and pensions."

Now I might be wrong, but each of these show a insensitivity and level of meanness that has become just a bit fashionable in the era where politicians promise that budget cuts and more budget cuts will take us to the promise land.
For a state level politician to brag and boast about putting one-third of a department at the state level out of job is just plain mean. Perhaps those jobs needed to be cut, but to gloat about cutting them ignores that there are now more people entering the unemployment line, and the attitude of Thom Tillis seems to be I'll use even the misfortunes of others to push my political cause if necessary.

The second remark about forbidding the state from collecting NCAE dues is a purely political ploy by a party that has long had enmity with the teacher organization. For the sake of disclosure, I am not a member of NCAE and have not been for quite a few years. Like every organization, I have not always agreed with their every stance, but to characterize an entire organization like NCAE the way Thom Tillis does is unfair. I know many, many teachers who are members of that organization who give their all for kids. Across this country, Republican legislatures are dismantling any influence professional educator unions and organizations have over policy. Tillis' remarks makes me wonder if he also had drunk from the cup offered by the American Legislative Exchange Council, who may be the actual author of so many legislative bills introduced across the country in recent months. Still, it is clear from this legislature's actions, it is perhaps they who do not care about kids, or at least they care more about scoring political points and budget cutting. This ploy to remove payroll deductions for NCAE dues is not about kids, it's about the majority party being able stay in power and push its agenda to destroy public schools.

Thom Tillis' remarks should not go unchallenged by those of us who know his mis-characterization of an entire organization and educators is wrong. Perhaps all those educators who do care more about kids than their jobs or pensions should give him a call and inform him about how much they care. To contact Mr. Tilllis, see the link below:

NC House Speaker Thom Tillis' Contact Information

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