Triangle Politics

Triangle Politics: Wake GOP blames ex-Gov. Bev Perdue, Common Core for teachers leaving

April 18, 2014 

The Wake County Republican Party is trying to focus the blame for the increase in teacher resignations on former Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue and the Common Core State Standards.

On Thursday, Wake County school leaders held a news conference and released statistics that show a 41 percent increase in the number of teachers who’ve resigned since the start of the school year, compared to the same time last year.

School officials said the spike points to the need to raise pay for teachers and to revisit changes made by the Republican-led General Assembly to phase out tenure and to eliminate extra pay for advanced degrees.

In a news release Friday, the Wake GOP says it shares the concerns about the resignations, but asks, “would we be seeing this increase in resignations if the Perdue budgets had not cut teacher pay almost 15 percent from 2008-2013?” Since 2008, teachers have only seen one state pay raise.

The GOP news release says that “we thank (Republican) Gov. Pat McCrory for the 1.2 percent raise in teacher pay – the first in five years.”

But the 1.2 percent pay raise was adopted in 2012, when Perdue was still in office.

Also in the news release, the Wake GOP says “we all need to look at the whole problem.”

“How many teachers are leaving because of the excessive testing and strain to teacher workloads caused by Common Core?” the Wake GOP asks.

None of the teachers who spoke at the district’s news conference said they’re resigning because of Common Core.

The Wake GOP also takes a shot at the Democratic-led Wake County school board, saying it “will spend millions more than necessary on a new high school, rather than extending a helping hand to our hard-working teachers, which they could have done.”

Keeping up appearances

With the General Assembly set to reconvene next month, the Apex Town Council is pushing to keep its authority to regulate appearance standards for new developments.

The issue topped the 11-item legislative agenda the council approved Tuesday. The list is meant as a guide for state lawmakers about what matters in Apex.

The council hopes the Senate will strike down its version of House Bill 150, which keeps towns and cities from setting design standards such as color, siding, roof style and the location of garage doors. If the bill becomes law, cities and towns could regulate aesthetics only in historic districts.

“We want to send the message (that) we believe we do a phenomenal job in regards to our aesthetics,” said Town Manager Bruce Radford. “Residents are appreciative once they move into these houses.”

The bill, whose primary sponsors include Rep. Nelson Dollar of Cary, passed the House by a wide margin last year.

Durham manager sworn in

New Durham County Manager Wendell Davis, a sharecropper’s son, says he will push the county to invest in its “human capital.”

In an emotional 30-minute ceremony, Davis was sworn in during the county commissioners meeting Monday. Well-wishers, including members of Davis’ extended family from his hometown in Halifax County, filled the board’s chambers.

Davis, who served as deputy Durham County manager from 1999 to 2011, noted that over the past few years the county has done an admirable job of addressing the needs of its physical plant, opening a new courthouse and a new Health and Human Services Building last year.

Davis also commended board Chairman Michael Page and Durham Mayor Bill Bell for pledging to fight poverty in their State of the County and State of the City addresses earlier this year. He pledged to bring in voices from all over the county to tackle the problem.

“I will spend my days and nights looking for every opportunity to collaborate, to work with people,” he said.

Political events

• The Democratic Women of Wake County will present “Slaves around Us: The Business of Human Trafficking” at 6 p.m. on Thursday at state Democratic Party headquarters, 220 Hillsborough St. in Raleigh. Speakers include Patricia Witt, PATH NC, expert in the issue of human trafficking; Boz Zellinger, assistant Wake County district attorney, and Randy Voller, chairman of N.C. Democratic Party and past member of Mayors against Human Trafficking. “Chosen,” a sex trafficking prevention video, will be shown. Free. For more info, contact Yvonne Pena at 919-308-2432.

Compiled by T. Keung Hui, Aliana Ramos, Matt Goad and Tammy Grubb.

Got a tip, item or coming event? Fax Triangle Politics at 919-829-4529, or send e-mail to metroeds@newsobserver.com. Send items by noon Thursday.

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