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10 Reasons NCAE Members Are Leaving The Union

RALEIGH – Teachers deserve respect. For too long, their voices have been held hostage by the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE); their legitimate challenges drowned out by NCAE’s political theatrics and divisive and partisan agenda.

To give classroom professionals a real voice, the John Locke Foundation has launched a statewide campaign to encourage educators to leave the NCAE and reject the union’s tactics and outsized influence on public policy decisions that impact every teacher, parent, and student.

“The teaching profession is deserving of respect, and the patronizing way the NCAE has treated both educator and student is an affront to the values inherent in a sound education,” said Dr. Robert Luebke, senior fellow with the Center for Effective Education at Locke.

In the interest of depoliticizing North Carolina classrooms, here are 10 reasons why teachers are choosing to leave NCAE:

  1. NCAE opposes nearly every school reform proposal, like merit pay, which would allow teachers to negotiate competitive salaries that honor the hard work they pour into their students.
  2. At every turn, the NCAE stonewalls proposals that empower parents. Instead of supporting a competitive marketplace where quality is celebrated, the NCAE uses children as political pawns for the sake of union interests.
  3. NCAE alleges to speak for nearly 100,000 public school teachers in North Carolina. Since NCAE has only about 17,500 members, and membership is dropping dramatically, it is an outrageous claim.
  4. NCAE says it represents the views of its members. Since 1990, the National Education Association, the parent organization of NCAE, has been the single largest political contributor in the education field. During that time, nine of every 10 contributions went to Democratic candidates even though a 2017 Education Week Survey found only 41% of teachers identified as Democrat, 30% as Unaffiliated, and 27% as Republican. That’s pure Democrat politics, not inclusive representation.
  5. NCAE embraces a progressive, highly political agenda that has little to do with education, including raising the minimum wage and expanding Medicaid, both of which have long-term consequences that would hurt the very people they purport to help.
  6. Rather than investing in its membership during the difficult 2020-21 school year, NCAE used member resources to support a five-month RV joyride through each of North Carolina’s 100 counties.
  7. NCAE supported Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the 2019 state budget, which included sizable teacher pay raises for educators. That action hurt teachers, yet NCAE prioritized sending a political message to the Republican leadership in the General Assembly over rewarding work in the classroom.
  8. Professional development offered by the NCAE reflects its commitment to the controversial and divisive tenets of Critical Race Theory. For example, at its May 2021 “One Team, One Goal” virtual professional development learning conference, the NCAE Center for Instructional Advocacy offered a workshop titled “Decolonizing Our Curriculum and Abolitionist Teaching.”
  9. NCAE President Tamika Kelly claims that “learning loss is a false construct,” showing complete disrespect for the students and families who have struggled to obtain a quality education over the past 18 months. Learning loss has disproportionately impacted Black and Hispanic students.
  10. NCAE is bleeding membership. Among state affiliates of the NEA, only Montana and Nevada had larger declines in state membership than North Carolina. Not even two large teacher rallies, which were used in part as a massive NCAE recruitment tool, have stopped the hemorrhaging.

“Parents overwhelmingly disapprove of educators who use their classrooms to advance a variety of fashionable left-wing causes,” said Dr. Terry Stoops, director of the Center for Effective Education at Locke. “Yet, NCAE consistently champions partisan politics and social justice activism at the expense of children’s academic and social and emotional needs. It is a political operation masquerading as an educational support organization.”

To see the billboard campaign, and to learn the easy steps to cutting ties with the teacher union, visit LeaveNCAE.com.

Donna Martinez / Senior Writer and Editor

Donna came to the John Locke Foundation in January 2003 after freelance writing for Carolina Journal and contributing to projects for the North Carolina Education Alliance. He...