North Carolina educators are showing they are not willing to let misguided state lawmakers rob them of their ability to speak up for children—not without a fight. And now it appears that fight is headed to court.
A judge issued a temporary restraining order Monday blocking the state from implementing a law passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature that would have prevented the North Carolina Association of Eductors (NCAE) from collecting dues from its members using payroll deduction. A hearing to seek a preliminary injunction is expected to be scheduled within the next 10 days.
“We are looking forward to using the legal process to make sure our members can continue to elect to have their dues payroll deducted,” said Sheri Strickland, a former preschool disabilities coordinator for exceptional children and the current president of NCAE.
Former State Supreme Court Justice Robert Orr, a prominent figure in GOP politics, is acting as lead counsel for NCAE.
“The legislation was enacted in violation of the constitution,” said Orr. “The state constitution does not mention Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative. It is what it is and it says what it says.”
In the wee hours of Thursday morning last week and with no advance notice, lawmakers moved to override Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of SB 727, stripping NCAE of its ability to collect dues through payroll deduction.
Plain and simple—this is political payback. In fact, Strickland played an audio recording for reporters last week of House Speaker Thom Tillis caught on tape by the media talking about his plans to hurt NCAE.
Sound familiar? That’s because we’ve seen these same underhanded, anti-education tactics—carried out in similar fashion in states across the country—including Wisconsin, where Gov. Scott Walker and Republican leaders last year rammed a similar bill through the legislature with very little public debate.
Strickland told reporters last week, the message from lawmakers is clear: “If you stand against cuts to public education, we will teach you a lesson. If you point out that they have taken North Carolina to nearly dead last in per pupil funding, you will be bullied. If you say that we are short-changing our students, we will try and silence your voice. Our message to them is we will not be intimidated, we will not be silenced, and we will not back down.”
Later this week on EducationVotes, a North Carolina Republican educator talks about how state GOP lawmakers have squandered their opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children.