#MoralMondays: July 29th Edition

Mercifully, this was the last Moral Monday.

No more “Mass Social Justice Interfaith” rallies – for now.

I’d groan, but instead I’m chuckling. Please, continue and follow the demise of Occupy who was at one time their own big, noisy movement and is now relegated to a subset of the Moral Monday ranks.

By the way, could that poster be dripping with any more hypocrisy? Only if they added “Amen” at the end. The Left using religion as a battering ram is just so revolting.

The NC General Assembly has ended their session and are headed home, bringing to an end the sea of hand-scrawled signs bearing clichéd and less than civil messages.  As for less than civil spoken messages, the leader of Moral Monday, Reverend Barber had this to say: Previously at Moral Monday, Barber grossly and misleadingly compared Trayvon Martin to Emmett Till. Now, Raleigh is the new Selma?  There are two reasons one ratchets up their dialogue the way Barber has in the last two weeks. One is that they are losing the interest of the intended audience and another is they like to pile it on thick for attention. I submit that in the case of Reverend Barber, it is both. This weeks protest was directed more at education.

The Left and the media in NC have been less than honest about the budget and the portion assigned to education.  They’ve complain and yelled about all the drastic cuts. Drastic cuts like ending Teacher Tenure, Automatic Pay Increases for Higher Degrees.  They also bemoan that teachers won’t get a raise, yet say nothing about the majority of teachers in NC belonging to NCAE who charges roughly $500 in dues a year nor that state employees across the board, including teachers, hadn’t seen a raise in years until 2012. I don’t recall teachers marching around the legislative building when Perdue and the Democrats were in control. Flashback to 2010:

RALEIGH — Senate Democrats say their budget for North Carolina state government will contain neither pay raises for teachers nor a bonus for all state employees to pay them back for last year’s furlough. Gov. Beverly Perdue sought the items in her budget proposal last month, but Senate Democrats told reporters on Tuesday both will be left out of the plan they’ll roll out next week. – ABC 11

Read the whole thing. It’s short — just like the memories of those waving their dramatic signs and crying injustice yesterday.

In fact, the majority of protesters there probably got their misinformation from the multiple arms of the NAACP like NC Policy Watch, The Nation or WRAL.  Ah, the unbiased media complex. Heck, some of them can’t even get my name right, much less debate a budget. These folks might do well and benefit from the Budget quiz over at Civitas. Maybe they’ll learn something from the last question about the education budget under Democrat control. The truth is, the education budget was expanded by 4.8%, not cut.

“Since 2010, Republican legislators have made it clear that their policy agenda included a handful of core education reforms eventually incorporated into the budget,” said Terry Stoops, director of research and education studies at the John Locke Foundation.

“These include the expansion of parental choice, elimination of teacher tenure and certain pay supplements, implementation of a school grading system, and development of a performance pay system for school personnel,” Stoops said. “Simply put, this budget is the culmination of an education reform agenda that had been laid out for the last three years.”

Acknowledging there are naysayers who claim that the reforms are an attempt to destroy public education, Stoops said: “The truth is that these reforms discard or dismantle policies approved decades ago at the behest of a handful of special interest groups. Legislators both modernized and diversified public education in North Carolina.”

Now comes the hard part, he said. “Status-quo teachers and administrators, along with the advocacy groups that support them, will do everything in their power to undermine these new policies during their implementation. As such, Republican legislators must remain vigilant,” Stoops said. “Otherwise, these worthwhile reforms will flounder through no fault of their own.” Source – Carolina Journal

That  last paragraph summarizes yesterday’s protest very well.  So where are the teachers and Left leaning advocacy groups getting their numbers from? Likely the forecast number. Possibly even from Superintendent June Atkinson. (Related: Rep. Alma Adams :Charter Schools are racist)

Representative Jon Hardister cut through the confusion well, via @ElliePTweet on Twitter:

Rep @JonHardister to #MoralMondays protesters re: cutting teachers & budget: Get your facts straight! #ncpol #ncga
We are not cutting any current teaching positions. And no teacher will receive a pay cut. In fact, teachers will keep more of the money that they earn (as a result of tax reform), and receive five extra days of vacation time. As far as tenure goes, I do not understand why it should be kept in place. Many important professions in our society do not have tenure, which means that their employees are hired and retained based on their merits. I believe this should be the same for teachers. Also, as to your question, I would certainly be willing to work as a teacher in NC. In fact, look at the job that I have now as a legislator. Our salary is much lower than that of a teacher, and serving in Raleigh has made it very difficult for me to keep up with work in the private sector. But I am honored to have the job and I am glad to do it because I believe in the cause. Having said all of that, I do believe that we should work to find ways to direct more funds to teacher pay and to classroom operations. However, for now, we truly need to focus on getting our fiscal house in order so we can better stabilize the economic environment in NC.

Speaking of salaries, I saw a few signs complaining about them in comparison to what other states pay starting teachers. Those signs failed to mention the cost of living or median income in those states, which is essential if you’re going to debate “unfair” salaries. Now, the flip side of that coin is that the median household income in NC  is around $46,291 (2007-2011 US Census). Average salary at $41,250.  A teacher with just a bachelor’s would have to teach for 19 years to reach the household median income rate and with an NBPTS certification they’d teach for 11 years to reach it.

I think it likely these protests aren’t so much about the quality of our education but rather the salaries of teachers and the bloated, growing educational bureaucracy. In other words, it’s about the money. Don’t get me wrong, I think teachers across the board should be paid more, however with the caveat they perform equal to the rate of pay. You know, like the rest of us? It’s also my opinion that we’re cutting off our noses despite our faces with all the teacher certifications and required degrees — some of the best teachers I had were ones who worked in the field they were teaching about.

The Crowd, The Arrest etc.

It’s the largest Moral Monday ever! Supporters say that on Twitter every time, I kid you not.

The local media likes to hype that line too, yet this week’s Charlotte Observer fails to mention a crowd count number. News and Observer ran basically the identical story Charlotte Observer did, including the headline. Note the big picture N&O runs with it – women wearing light blue t-shirts? They say ACTION NC. Hooray for Left wing social justice non-profits! From the N&O Article:

Capitol police pegged the rally at Halifax Mall as the largest crowd yet to gather for the “Moral Monday” demonstrations.

This week was different from the previous Monday demonstrations that resulted in more than 920 arrests since April 29. The lawmakers left for home Friday after adopting a budget and a flurry of new laws and policies in the final week of the session. GOP leaders praised the session at its wrap as one setting North Carolina on a path toward reform echoing the will of the 2012 voters.

So these thousands came out and protested in front of an empty legislature? This budget is hardly news; versions have been around for about 2-3 years. Where were the protests before? Capitol police pegged it at largest yet. I called and inquired. The answer I got was about 3,500 to maybe “even bumping 4,000”. They apparently told WUNC something different:

So hey, this time possibly was the largest ever! Only took 13 tries.

Over at ABC11, ‘thousands’ yet no real estimate listed in their rather short article. Moral Monday supporter, WRAL, used the ‘largest ever’ line in the opening paragraph, citing ‘thousands’ but just like ABC11, gave no number.

On Twitter

According to the always humble and truthful Jeanne Bonds (yes, that was weapons grade sarcasm), there were 8,000 to 9,000 people were there last night. Priceless.

Sounds familiar. So is the cropping to make it looks bigger than it is. I seem to recall pals of Bonds estimating crowds at 3,000 back in June. The NC NAACP, of course, topped all the estimates with a whopper of 8,000 that same day back on June 24. So, you’ll pardon me if I remain skeptical of 8-9,000 when the maximum they ever had show up was the June 3rd Union astroturfed event bringing in between 2,000 to 2,400 per GA police.

Senate Democrats didn’t speculate on size (below). Probably wise not make those kind of claims these days.

You can view more at the hashtag #MoralMondays. Don’t expect much variety or actual facts being thrown around, do expect children as props and general echo chamber rhetoric.

More ‘thousands’ from the NAACP NC. Oh hey, wait — more estimates from Democracy NC:

Back to astroturf, arrests and related matters

I have no doubt a lot of teachers across NC showed up last night. I also have no doubt the crowd was large given what the police told me and thanks to my source on the ground that they spotted numerous buses dropping off folks near the legislature. I feel pretty sure they are mostly in-state residents, but can’t rule out astroturf attempts given the history.

Perhaps they were related to the AFL-CIO who promised a ‘massive protest’ last night? Maybe some were associated with DCMedia Group or other similar groups outside the state promoting the last Moral Monday?

So, we see the largest crowd yet, however where are the arrest numbers?  Well that is because there were none. Why not? You’d think a bunch of teachers getting hauled off to jail might tug at those heartstrings right?  Well, I think our teachers are smarter than to be used as props. Maybe that’s naive, but it’s interesting to think that perhaps there were no arrests because the organizers of Moral Mondays ran out of useful idiots and that no one out of the ‘thousands’ there last night stepped up to take their place.

Read related posts on Moral Monday by LL1885 here.

UPDATE: Looks like I hit a nerve. Big words and assumptions. Not shocking since this person attempted to Dox me and failed in epic fashion; named me as someone else entirely. How irresponsible, not to mention possibly criminal.


About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a freelance journalist and is currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_
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