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Teachers to Gather at Rally to Weigh Higher Pay Against "Tenure Rights"


North Carolina’s public school teachers could soon be faced with a big choice: pay hikes, or job protection. State senators are proposing a budget that would raise experienced educators’ salaries in exchange for what they’re calling “tenure rights.” And navigating such a choice can be confusing. Which is why the local division of the North Carolina Association of Educators—or NCAE—is hosting what they’re billing as an informational rally in Wilmington, tomorrow.

Tomorrow’s event intends to inform teachers and the public about this proposed bill’s small print. For instance, should teachers opt for the pay raise, there’s no guarantee they’ll receive it during subsequent school years, and, should they get too expensive for their school systems, they could easily be let go. This is according to Chris Meek, a Murray Middle School teacher, and the incoming vice president of New Hanover County’s NCAE division. Meek points out that North Carolina teachers don’t even have tenure, but rather, basic due-process rights. And he says legislators aren’t using this hot-button misnomer by accident.

"When you frame an argument, and maintain that argument in using certain terminology, it becomes part of the vernacular. And when it becomes part of the vernacular, it’s easily misconstrued. And that’s one of the things that we want to do with this rally, is get people to understand what it is that we’re really fighting for."

Speakers include NCAE activists and candidates for public office, and a question-and-answer discussion will follow the presentation. Supporters of this legislation say it will bring North Carolina teacher pay closer to the national average.

***Tomorrow’s rally takes place at 11 a.m. at The Optimist Supper Club, 605 Eastwood Rd., Wilmington.