Charley Norkus: Recommit to public schools

January 11, 2014 

I was greatly encouraged by former Gov. Jim Hunt’s plea to raise teachers’ pay in his Jan. 5 Point of View piece “Finding the will to raise N.C. teacher pay.”

The first year I taught, 1976, was at Cathedral School under the condition that my pay equal that of public school teachers: $8,500. Hunt was elected that November, and things began to look up for N.C. teachers. I spoke before the General Assembly in 1981 seeking higher pay for teachers, and I left teaching twice for more money in the private sector, but I always came back to teaching.

From 2000 to 2007, I sold educational software for SAS. As my colleagues and I traveled to conferences from coast to coast, it was obvious that we were held in high regard simply because we were from North Carolina. The nation recognized what N.C. had accomplished for teachers, and we were at the forefront of student growth, teacher leadership and educational technology.

I was happy to see the Dec. 31 Point of View “Urgent wake-up call from teachers” comparing what Jim Goodnight has done for employees at SAS to what has unfortunately happened to our state’s teachers during the last decade. I only hope that the people of this state will listen to Hunt, rekindle that spirit of educational excellence and recommit themselves to public schools.

Charley Norkus

Raleigh

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