RALEIGH, N.C., June 6, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a letter sent today, NCAE President Sheri Strickland extended an invitation to Thom Tillis, Speaker of the NC House of Representatives. The text of the letter is the following:
Dear Mr. Tillis:
When we met in December 2010, I expressed to you our sincere hope that you, as Speaker of the House of Representatives, would continue to serve as a mainstream conservative who understood the connection between having great public schools and a brighter economic future.
You may recall that in our meeting I shared with you and Representative Skip Stam NCAE's mission, vision, and core values as adopted by our members.
During this legislative session we have appreciated the access and candor you have afforded NCAE as we navigate through difficult times. Unfortunately, NCAE has been disappointed in the values and priorities you have set forth.
Over the last few years we have dropped to 46th in the country in per pupil funding and are on track in your budget to fall to dead last. Additionally, your budget makes drastic cuts to early childhood education, professional development programs, at risk student programs, and eliminates many of the resources we have used to increase teacher effectiveness. It is apparent to the public that this legislature is determined to privatize our public school system at a time when resources are so desperately needed in the classroom.
I was particularly disheartened when you publicly stated that you would take away educators' right to pay NCAE dues through payroll deduction as political retribution for not supporting your budget. I was shocked to read your comments made at the GOP Convention this weekend that "they (NCAE) don't care about kids. They don't care about classrooms."
Respectfully, nothing could be further from the truth and such comments and actions are not in line with the values of our educators or the dignity of your position.
However, I believe that in the heat of the budget debate, political posturing often outweighs facts and ideas. In light of that reality I would like to invite you to a public meeting here at the NCAE Center on Wednesday, June 8, to have an open conversation about the impact your proposed budget will have on our students.
Please let me know if you are available for this discussion. I will hold all day Wednesday and wait to hear what works best for your schedule.
We can work together on other attendees and will provide a chalk board and ample chalk to share our concerns.
NCAE is the state's largest education association representing nearly 60,000 active, retired and student members in North Carolina.
SOURCE North Carolina Association of Educators