CMS teacher's strong words to politicians

Published: May. 14, 2014 at 3:46 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 12, 2014 at 7:27 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - There was a strong exchange of words between a Charlotte - Mecklenburg school (CMS) teacher Sarah Wiles and North Carolina lawmaker David Curtis.

The science teacher wrote a letter to legislators explaining her frustrations over low teacher pay. And not getting a significant raise in several years.

She told lawmakers she felt disrespected by what she calls broken promises made by lawmakers regarding teacher pay.

"If you aren't going to do anything, and you know nothing will change, just leave me alone," Wiles wrote. "I would rather be ignored than disrespected."

She also wrote the letter because she believes politicians are only speaking up for teachers because this is an election year.

"Got fed up being the poster child of someone's campaign," Wiles said. "Than are people really interested in what's going on in the classrooms and making a change."

The teacher also wrote politicians "I am embarrassed for you. I am embarrassed by you and save for my students, I am embarrassed being a teacher in North Carolina - the doormat of society."

The teacher is very critical of lawmakers' decisions regarding K-12 funding.

"Their dog in the fight is public education," Wiles said. "So for them to decrease funding in the schools and them not listen to the needs of their public school system is irresponsible."

Wiles wrote the letter to each North Carolina lawmaker. Several responded including Senator David Curtis. Curtis didn't hold back with his response. Many told him his response was harsh.

"Been called some obscene names actually in some emails." Curtis said.

The lawmaker wrote and told the teacher if she was so embarrassed to teach in North Carolina, leave and find another job. He even told the teacher what she should ask from her new boss.

"You expect to make a lot more than you made as a teacher," Curtis wrote. "Because everyone knows how poorly compensated teachers are."

He also wrote the teacher's new boss should offer eight weeks paid vacation when teachers are off for the summer and they should contribute to a retirement plan that guarantees $35,000 for life for 30 years of service.

Curtis believes teachers are concentrating too much on compensation and not focusing on the other benefits associated with being a teacher.

"Virtually no workers get the type of retirement plan that teachers get." Curtis said.

Curtis said it took him two days to come up with a response. He has no regrets. He wanted to tell his side of the story.

"The teachers union is putting out a false," the lawmaker said. "One sided picture of teacher compensation issue."

Wiles believes she got her point across and hope politicians treat themselves like the treat teachers.

"Teachers are expected to fix things now," Wiles said. "and we just want the same urgency."

Curtis told WBTV he supports teachers and will fight for them to get a raise this year. Wile fires back and says actions speak louder than words.

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