Everybody Expects NC Teachers to be Paid More

A preview of the NC General Assembly session which starts January 9th, from a site called JDSupra: (Operated by a public affairs firm vcalled McGuire Woods Consulting.)

Teacher pay raises: Since taking power in 2011, Republicans have increased teacher pay, but Democrats have criticized the amounts of the raises and the state’s standing in national rankings. Expect Gov. Cooper and legislative Democrats to make higher teacher pay a top priority next year.

I’m particularly chaffed that the teacher pay scale holds individual teachers at the same rate for several years.  Between year 15 and year 24, the pay is expected to be the same. ($5,000 a month.) I’m not complaining about teacher pay; others have it much worse. Some have it better.

Of course, the salary schedule will probably be completely reworked again this year. 

Wilson Times:We Endorse the Bond, but We Know a Better Way

The Wilson Times is in favor of the 1.9 billion dollar bond for schools, but bets on another way:

While the school construction bond is a worthy investment, we can’t pay our bills on billion-dollar credit cards forever. The state needs more recurring revenue to support public education. That’s why The Wilson Times is calling on lawmakers to legitimize, regulate and tax video sweepstakes centers and devote 100 percent of the proceeds to our schools.

Because we totally can trust lawmakers to devote 100% of any revenue to a single area. Have we done this area before?

As for moral resistance to gambling, that horse has been out of the barn for more than a decade. The N.C. Education Lottery ponied up $100 million for local school systems this year. A tax on sweepstakes gaming would serve as a much-needed multiplier.

Can anyone come up with another revenue raiser for schools? Legalize and tax pot? Tolls in the car-rider line?

Or maybe some level of general taxation and spending policy which allows for an appropriate level of financial support for infrastructure? I know. Crazy talk.

 

Lead in Water at Some Charlotte Schools

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Tests show water fixtures at 41 of Charlotte-Mecklenburg 89 oldest schools had unsafe levels of lead, and officials say those fixtures have been removed, blocked off or filtered as soon as the high levels were detected.

The Charlotte Observer reports the school system has completed a second round of testing to identify drinking fountains and other school water sources leaching unsafe levels of lead.

For how long, and with what damage to students?

The Post in Which I Compare Belly Fat, Potato Chips aqnd a New Public School Bond Request

We were going to fund repairs and new construction as needed…but instead, we will borrow money. Which oddly enough, is exactly the way we’ve done this before.

 

NC Policy Watch:

State House Speaker Tim Moore announced that he would file a bill to put a $1.9 billion public school bond on the ballot, addressing at least a portion of the state’s capital needs.

According to Moore’s release, $1.3 billion would go to K-12 construction needs, $300 million to the UNC system, and $300 million to North Carolina’s community colleges.

I shouldn’t complain. The repairs and expansion will probably get funded.  

Lawmakers did authorize and voters approved a $2 billion bond in 2016 to fund STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) facilities on UNC campuses, but the state’s K-12 schools have long bemoaned the state of crumbling facilities in some of North Carolina’s poorer regions.

State lawmakers didn’t notice that some counties were poorer? That the funding formula creates inequality?

And if this bond measure goes through, lawmakers will wait until folks forget about the last two bonds before asking voters to fund another bond to pay for something else. 

State officials told legislators nearly three years ago that the school construction tab was expected to balloon to $13 billion by 2026…

Oh, and somebody is going to point out that this will only increase taxes a very small amount. That’s like me justifying polishing off a bag of chips containing six grams of fat, saying that compared to the fat already hanging over my belt…six grams is very little.

Please.

When you borrow more than a billion dollars, it costs a lot of money.  If you need to borrow more than a billion dollars for something so predictable as educational infrastructure, something is wrong.

We Have Located the Greatest University, Ever

Located in Lund, Sweden.  The story comes from thelocal.se
A chemistry professor at Lund University dispatched a team of mercenaries into an Islamic State (also known as IS, Isis or Daesh) war zone to free one of her doctoral students and his family.
Charlotta Turner, professor in Analytical Chemistry, received a text message from her student Firas Jumaah in 2014 telling her to to assume he would not finish his thesis if he had not returned within a week. 
While credit goes to the professor [and a nomination for Greatest Professor of All Time!] it turns out the university has access to mercenaries.

 

Lund University

Motto: Do NOT mess with our grad students!

The article continues:

She contacted the university’s then security chief Per Gustafson. “It was almost as if he’d been waiting for this kind of mission,” Turner said. “Per Gustafson said that we had a transport and security deal which stretched over the whole world.”

Over a few days of intense activity, Gustafson hired a security company which then arranged the rescue operation. A few days later two Landcruisers carrying four heavily-armed mercenaries roared into the area where Jumaah was hiding, and sped him away to Erbil Airport together with his wife and two small children.

Other family members were left behind, but survived.

And to think, I waited 4 weeks for a certified transcript from Fayetteville State.

Obligation vs. Duty

At times like these, I’m increasingly glad I never became a lawyer. 

The only armed deputy stationed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School the day of Nikolas Cruz’s deadly rampage asked a Broward judge on Wednesday to find he had “no legal duty” to protect the students and faculty from harm.

The judge rejected his argument.

Image result for scot peterson

Badge, gun, title, paycheck.  But no duty?

“We want to say he had an obligation, but the law isn’t that,” said Peterson’s lawyer, Michael Piper. “From a legal standpoint, there was no duty.”

It is entirely possible that though I earned a degree in teaching, maintain a license to teach and am being paid to teach…I have no legal duty to teach.