The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Sarah Bufkin, or 404.285.3413

"We'll Be Back!"

After 3-Hour Teach-In, Teachers, Students and the Forward Together Moral Movement Promise to Return to the NC General Assembly for Further Action


Teachers, parents, alumni, students and other concerned North Carolinians arrived today, intent on petitioning Senate Leader Berger over the devastating cuts to public schools that he included in his 2014 and previous budgets. They came armed with fact sheets; the teachers brought lesson plans. They demanded repeals to the many extreme laws attacking teachers and schools this year.

The Senator cleared his office and locked the doors before the teachers and students arrived. Undeterred, they held a three-hour Teach-In for members of the legislature and public. Senator Berger only arrived hours after the Teach-In began, and only after he ordered the NC General Assembly police to clear all the supporters out of the building.

"The Forward Together Moral Movement is proud of the courageous teachers, students and parents who decided to stand up for students and schools today by demanding the extremist legislative leadership take decisive action to repeal destructive policies designed to undermine public education in our state," said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, president of the North Carolina NAACP. "These fifteen moral witnesses had doubts as to whether Senate Leader Berger's offers to consider restoring education funding were genuine, but they decided to give him a few days to prove that he will act as a statesman and do the right thing. If he does not, then we will be back for a full and direct action. The teachers and students will not stay home. They and the Forward Together Moral Movement will be back in their offices and the People's House to make sure they do not put public education and opportunities for our children at risk."

Rev. Barber continued, "We have spent the past few years attempting to get a good-faith meeting between the legislative leadership and the Forward Together Moral Movement. For Senator Berger to clear the building before meeting with the moral witnesses, to avoid the people for the past few weeks on Mondays, is shameful. Teachers are smarter than that. The Moral Mondays Movement will not fall for it."

Last summer, thousands gathered at Moral Monday to protest this extremist General Assembly's decision to slash money from the education budget - hobbling public schools, leaving teacher pay at 47th in the nation, burdening students with skyrocketing tuition rates at public colleges and universities and funneling millions of taxpayer dollars to private schools through a voucher program.

This summer, Senate Leader Phil Berger put together a budget that attempts to raise teachers' wages, but does so at the expense of eliminating vital classroom support, teacher worker protections and other public school funding that enables our children to learn in safe, diverse and supportive environments.