by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
RALEIGH – As teachers across North Carolina begin one of the most challenging school years of their careers, the John Locke Foundation today launched a statewide campaign to provide them with the tools to reject politics in the classroom and neutralize pressure to conform. “Leave NCAE” is a combined billboard and digital project which shows teachers how to save $500 per year by following simple steps to opt out of the highly political and partisan North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE), a self-described teachers union.
The billboards can be seen in high-traffic areas in some of the state’s largest public school districts, including Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Wake County. Along with billboards on major thoroughfares, there is also a digital outreach effort to ensure teachers have information about the process of leaving the NCAE.
With its heightened political antics and partisan tactics, the NCAE’s membership continues to fade, yet its political and lobbying clout has remained dominant, giving the union an outsized impact on policies that impact every public school teacher and classroom. In the process, the vast majority of teachers have been left voiceless and unfairly subjected to the union’s dominance and radical views.
Over the past decade, NCAE membership plummeted 58% as fewer and fewer educators have aligned with NCAE’s views and tactics, signaling the union does not speak for them or address their core concerns. NCAE’s enrollment decline is one of the most precipitous of any National Education Association (NEA) affiliate.
“The John Locke Foundation embraces diversity of thought,” said Locke president Donald Bryson. “We are pro-teacher. We believe educators should have the freedom to affiliate as they see fit, and we believe that the NCAE stopped representing the best interests of teachers and students long ago, in exchange for partisan gains.”
By repeatedly rejecting teacher pay raises backed by the Republican-led General Assembly and urging Gov. Roy Cooper to veto those raises, the NCAE has shown it is an elitist, narrowly focused and partisan group that is out of touch with many teachers.
The “Leave NCAE” billboards can be found in Guilford, Mecklenburg, Johnston, and Wake counties.
Educators can find instructions for cutting the cord with the teacher union and saving $500 per year by visiting LeaveNCAE.com.