The catch is the Republican budget also includes significant corporate tax cuts and does not expand Medicaid.
To put it bluntly, Republicans are using teachers as pawns in their political game.
And just like when a student is disrupting their classroom, teachers are not putting up with it.
Across the state, teachers have held walk-ins in which they protest outside their schools before the first bell to raise awareness about the budget issue.
The frozen budget means schools are unable to hire new employees, including mental health professionals and social workers.
To be clear, just because Gov. Cooper vetoed the budget, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to increase teacher pay. In fact, he wants to increase it even more. Part of the reason he vetoed it was because the proposed raise wasn’t enough.
Just to make things even more infuriating, Republican state senators refuse to hold a budget vote while Democrats are present because with Democrats present, the overrule wouldn’t pass. N.C. Sen. Jeff Jackson, D-Mecklenburg, called out the corruption on video and implored Republicans to do their job by holding the vote. The Republican Leadership response? To acknowledge — on camera — that they will hold a vote, just not with Democrats present.
This is an absurd way for government to function. Tactics like this are the reason we still don’t have a budget. It’s the reason teachers still have to work second jobs while paying for school supplies out of their own pockets. Teachers should be inside the classroom, teaching the next generation rather than picketing outside.
The budget battle has gone on for far too long. It’s time for Republicans to do their job and hold a vote even if — especially if — Democrats are present. Most importantly, it’s time to stop using teachers as political pawns and to actually pay them what they deserve.