NC JUSTICE NEWS: Crucial Conversation+ Take Action for Public Education + Happy Birthday, FMLA!

September 10, 2013

CRUCIAL CONVERSATION: "Trans-Pacific Partnership" worse than NAFTA

Few American states have experienced the devastating impact of global “free” trade more directly and painfully than North Carolina. Our shuttered manufacturing plants and record unemployment rates both serve as powerful daily reminders of the lasting impact of NAFTA, CAFTA and other alphabet soup trade deals negotiated by far-off politicians and corporate giants.

Now, amazingly enough, yet another such trade agreement is being negotiated in secret, and it could be the worst one yet. As you read this, trade officials from the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim nations are negotiating something called the Trans-Pacific Partnership in hopes of reaching agreement this fall.

Join NC Policy Watch, AFL-CIO of North Carolina, and Witness for Peace and Balance & Advocacy in Journalism for a Crucial Conversation event on why North Carolinians should be very, very worried about the so-called “Trans-Pacific Partnership.” The event will feature Lori Wallach, Director of the Global Trade Watch Division at the national advocacy group Public Citizen.

Don’t miss this important opportunity to hear from this passionate national leader on this dangerously under-reported subject. The event will be held on Thursday, September 26 at 12:00 p.m. at the Center for Community Leadership Training Room at the Junior League of Raleigh Building, 711 Hillsborough St. Space is limited. Click here to register for the event.

EDUCATION CUTS: What the loss of teachers, supplies mean for NC's children

Are you worried what the loss of teachers, assistants, and supply cuts will mean for your children?  Are you already seeing changes in your school? NC MomsRising has created a back-to-school open letter for Gov. McCrory, Speaker Tillis, and Senator Berger as a reminder that North Carolina parents are still paying attention.

The spending for K-12 education in the final NC budget approved this summer fell $117 million short of what was needed to continue an already inadequate level of education services due to a repeated pattern of cuts to education. When comparing the public education budget this year to the last budget prior to the recession and adjusting for inflation, North Carolina spends less today on education than it did five years ago, despite more students entering public classrooms over this period. We were already 48th in the nation in per pupil spending and 46th in teacher pay before these cuts.

The cuts include:

  • Increasing teacher-to-student ratios which reduces total funding for teachers by $286.4 million means local school districts may have to cut teacher positions. This loss of funding could result in 5,200 fewer teachers throughout our state. Larger classroom sizes also impact the quality of education children receive as one on one attention has to cover more students. The elimination of 21% of funding for teacher assistants, who play a vital role in helping children learn, equates to a potential loss of approximately 3,800 positions.
  • Nearly $24 million in cuts to instructional support personnel and instructional supplies translate to inadequate funding for educational materials, which compromises our children’s educational experiences.
  • The lack of pay raises for teachers, elimination of the salary incentive for teachers who earn advanced degrees, cuts to professional development and recruitment programs, and elimination of teacher tenure damages teacher morale, teacher quality and our ability to keep good teachers in the state and attract new teachers.
  • The budget siphons $10 million away from the public school system for children to attend private and religious schools through a permanent voucher program system for children to attend private and religious schools.

The cuts don’t take place in a vacuum. They have real consequences for NC’s children and our future. Sign the letter today.

FEDERAL BUDGET DEFICIT: Urge lawmakers to support new revenues

As Congress returns to work after a long August recess, the debate over the federal budget deficit is returning to the front burner, with several key milestones rapidly approaching over the next several weeks and months.

These key “decision points” will significantly shape how Congress tries to reduce the national debt. Each one of these decision points will offer an important choice — whether to take a balanced approach to deficit reduction that includes new revenues and strengthens our economy, or to persist in making harmful spending cuts to key public investments.

Sign here and tell Senator Burr you want him to invest in America by supporting new revenues and closing corporate tax loopholes.

FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE ACT: Celebrate 20 years of the federal legislation

Join NC Families Care, NC MomsRising and the NC Justice Center for the 20th birthday celebration of the federal Family Medical Leave Act and a tribute to North Carolina’s champions of work-family policy.

In the last 20 years, the Family Medical Leave Act — the first and only legislation written specifically to help workers meet both family and work obligations — has been used more than a 100 million times by working men and women who needed time away from work to take care of a family health crisis or welcome a new baby.

Join us for a kid-friendly party with speakers, crafts, and birthday cake as we celebrate how far we’ve come and build momentum to close the gaps that remain so we can all be good family members and good employees. We will also be taking the opportunity to honor our champions on the state level: Representative Alma Adams, Senator Angela Bryant, Representative Larry Hall, and Senator Ellie Kinnaird.

The event will be held on September 24 from 10am-noon at the Marbles Children's Museum in downtown Raleigh. Space is limited. Register at this link. The first 25 registrations receive a free entrance ticket to the Museum!

ACA COMMUNITY EVENT: Join NC Justice Center on 9/26 in Roanoke Rapids

As the Affordable Care Act is being implemented in our state, NC lawmakers have blocked the Medicaid program from being expanded. This means that 500,000 working adults will remain uninsured in 2014.

Join the NC Justice Center, Hannah's Place, Inc. and Roanoke Valley Community Health Initiative on September 26 in Roanoke Rapids to discuss the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, how Medicaid expansion would help the community, and the new health benefits exchanges (online marketplace for purchasing insurance) and eligibility for tax credits for individuals and small businesses.

The event will be held on Thursday, September 26, from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at the Mystique Multi Venue Complex, located at 1652 Highway 125 in Roanoke Rapids. Reserve your seat today with Nicole Dozier at or 919-856-2146.

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