On the Issues

My Pledge to Teachers

Last June, I retired from a career that spanned 44 years as a classroom teacher and school administrator.  At first, I thought that retiring would be a pretty easy process.  It was not. As the new school year grew closer, I realized just exactly how much I was going to miss the kids, the parents, and the community of teachers and staff members who dedicated themselves to the well-being of children.

With retirement I remembered the first year I worked with kids like Drew who loved playing foosball.  Lee, who asked me to teach him to play trumpet.  I worked with Paul who struggled academically and socially.  I remembered Barbara who had a speech impediment and was painfully shy because of it.

It has been 45 years since I had them in my class.  But I can still see their faces.  I can still remember them sharing their hopes and dreams.  I can still see them struggling through their teen years.  

When 0ne is truly successful with a child it is much like a moment of grace.  There is simply no substitute for the relationships one develops, the opportunity to change lives and alter the course of a young life in a meaningful way. 

I loved every moment of my career, no matter what I taught or coached, I knew the power of and significance of every single word I shared with every single child.  I knew that any word carelessly chosen could crush a child’s spirit.  I knew that any word carefully chosen could lift a child’s spirit.  For all those years I promised kids that it was my job to be certain the felt safe, welcome, and wanted.

When I retired, I reflected on that first year of teaching.  My first paycheck was about $600.00 before taxes. I thought I died and went to heaven, until it came time to pay my bills.  That car I needed to get to work, its insurance, power bills, the cost of continuing my education, rent and food pushed me up against a financial wall that I will never forget. 

 Like many teachers I knew, I had to work a second job and my wife Shelley worked at the same school I did.

And so it is with teachers everywhere.  Teachers, too, have needs.  They aren’t always financial needs either.  Teachers need to be treated with respect commensurate with the importance of the job they do. 

 If you value your doctor, your lawyer, your car mechanic, your retailer, or whatever, then you surely must know that who they are and what they do started in kindergarten.  I would venture a guess that no matter who you are you vividly remember both the positive and not so positive things from your school days.  Too, I’ll bet most of you have had both!

Today the leadership in North Carolina’s General Assembly seems to have forgotten how they got where they are today. I have not!  As a candidate for State Senate I have a pledge to make to our teachers.

 

  • I will work to restore career status (often called tenure.)
  • I will work to restore the career ladder for pay.
  • I will work to restore increased pay for advanced degrees.
  • I will work to provide universal pre-school.
  • I will work to end vouchers.
  • I will work to dramatically increase the numbers of social workers and school counselors in our schools.
  • I will work to give power back to our school boards.
  • I will work to provide a tuition-free post high school (community college) education.
  • I will work to see to it that our children are fully funded. (Currently, children are funded at $500.00 per year less than they were in 2008!}
  • I will work to see to it that we once again fund a robust teacher scholarship program that will graduate up to 1500 new teachers a year.
  • I will work to see to it that our veteran teachers receive the pay raises they need to make theirs a real career as well as retiree benefits!
  • I will work to see to it that teacher assistants (K-3) are protected.
  • I will work to increase administrator pay.
  •  I will work to lessen testing and stop using high stakes testing to grade and pay our teachers and schools.

 

The current General Assembly leadership thinks that the only thing teachers want is more money. The public school picture is far more complicated than that. If they would listen to teachers they would do right by our children and give them the best.

 I’m not ready to retire.  It turns out that there is more for me to do.  Send this educator to the legislature so I can keep on fighting for children like Drew, Paul, and Barbara…and all the other children and their teachers.  North Carolina’s future depends on it.

 

Norm

NC 11 Primary Statement

For the past many months Scott Donaldson, Steve Woodsmall, and Phillip Price worked on a grueling campaign  to represent the Democratic Party in the 2018 General Election. All three of these men have driven untold miles, given of themselves, and built substantial campaign teams and loyal supporters. They threw their heart and souls to their shared messages of health care for all, jobs, and education.

In the end, Phillip Price garnered just over 40% of the vote, enough to avoid a run-off. Now we must all lock arms and join together to support Phillip’s efforts in the coming months. Because Congressman Meadows is a powerful legislator, the Republicans will do whatever it takes to see to it that he has whatever funds he wants to win this election.

For those who have been waiting for a Democratic candidate to support, now you have one. . . and only one! Phillip has grown and grown in the months he has been campaigning and he has learned much about the electorate. He has a great team of supporters, and is ready to take on the challenges of taking on a strong incumbent. Yours truly, Norm 4 NC, and my leadership team look forward to working with Price for Congress for his inevitable victory flipping this red district blue.

Congratulations to Phillip Price and his team! Time to put Meadows out to pasture!

Norm Schools Edwards on Education

The following is from a speech that Norm gave at his April 5th fundraising event with Jeff Jackson. 

A good time was had by all at the event!

 

Last night, Chuck Edwards announced on WLOS that he has posted a survey to find out what his constituents concerns are for their public schools.  I am wondering why he doesn’t already know.

After all, he is a member of the Education Appropriations Committee in the North Carolina Senate.

 

  1. Shouldn’t he already know because education was on the lips of thousands of Moral Monday Marchers, Superintendents statewide who meet with Legislators every year, and North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) repeatedly brought the State’s education needs to his attention?
  2. Shouldn’t he already know because every year the North Carolina Department of Public Education (NCDP) surveys parents, teachers, and students in their various exit years?  By the way, private schools have no such requirements.
  3. Shouldn’t he already know because Public School Systems are required to make the results of those surveys available to anyone who wants to see them?  By the way, private schools have no such requirements.
  4. Shouldn’t he already know because every Pubic School has a School Improvement Team that includes teachers, administrators, and members of the community and, in upper grades, students?  By the way, private schools have no such requirements.
  5. Shouldn’t a member of the Education Appropriations Committee already know that public schools are required to be accountable for student proficiency and growth?  By the way, private schools have no such requirements.
  6. Shouldn’t he already know that School Boards are responsible to develop their policies based on surveys, testing, and input from the communities they serve and the staff of each school in their jurisdiction?  By the way, private schools have no such requirements.
  7. Shouldn’t he already know what schools need because every Public School is required to have an Advisory Council who publish the minutes of their meetings? By the way, private schools have no such requirements.
  8. Doesn’t he know that our Public Schools are required to have accessible school leadership with whom he can speak any time he wishes to make an appointment?  By the way, private schools have no such requirements.

Clearly, a year and a half into his term, Mr. Edwards still doesn’t know the basics of his job.

  1. He doesn’t know what schools need as evidenced by the budget he supports which underfunds our students at a rate $500.00 per pupil less than in 2008.   I would restore that funding.
  2. He also fails to support the Teaching Fellows program at a level that used to produce 1500 new teachers every year.  (As it would happen there is a shortage of teachers.  Colleges report that the enrollment of education majors is down about 30% state wide.)     I would fully support the Teaching Fellows program.
  3. He doesn’t support pre-school programs at the level they were at just a few short years ago.   I believe every child should have access to pre-school programs.
  4. His plans to decrease class size sound touchy-feely, but don’t take into account that thousands of elementary assistants will lose their jobs.  Those jobs are critical to the success of our early grades regardless of the classroom size.  It doesn’t take into account that school systems would have to build new facilities or move temporary structures onto campus  I would do away with this poorly funded mandate.  I would let local School Boards decide how to use State funds.  This is what School Boards are elected to do!  No more Raleigh overreach!
  5. He supports pulling 11 million dollars a year out of our budget to support vouchers for people to send their children to private schools for which there is zero accountability.  I don’t support vouchers, but if we can’t get rid of them, we need to at least make private schools more accountable to us and allow the vouchers to follow the student if they re-enroll in public schools. 

Mr. Edwards may think he needs another survey.  He wouldn’t if he had met with the Moral Monday Marchers, superintendents, teachers or answered the letters and phone calls he got from countless citizens who voiced their concerns about their Public School individually.

It is hard to trust someone who accepts responsibility for something about which he knows nothing.  It makes me angry to know that we have an elected official, assigned to oversee education for the last year and a half, who only now is saying he needs to learn what the people want and need.  Mr. Edwards, the train has left the station and you missed it!

My campaign is about renewing trust in each other and our government.  That starts with listening. As Principal, on the first day of school every year, I walked into every classroom in the building.  I told my students that it was my job to see to it that they felt safe, welcome, and wanted at school.  Without those three things, no one learns anything.

To get a government that we can trust, we need to elect my friends Gayle Kemp, Sam Edney, Susan Fisher, Terry Van Duyn, John Ager, Joe Sam Queen, Senator Jeff Jackson and me.  We need your time, we need your treasure.  BUT most of all, we need your vote!

Senator Jeff Jackson

 

Keeping Schools Safe – Listening to our Kids

I am an educator. I understand what the threat of gun violence does to schools; the changes to the building; trimming 100-year-old trees so a shooter can’t use them for cover; the drills that steal precious time from teaching; the worry on kids’ faces when the loud speaker announces a lock-down; the fear every teacher feels over the safety of their students and themselves when there is yet another shooting in the news. It is all too real.
On the 24th of March, I had the opportunity to join students and concerned family members in the Hendersonville “March for Our Lives” observance. There were hundreds of us, the largest demonstration about anything in Hendersonville in as long as anyone could remember. The March was completely organized by students. In sympathy with the tragic events in Parkland, they felt compelled to join millions of others who want elected officials in State and Federal governments to do something to keep them safe in their schools, churches, and on the streets of their communities. As I walked, I was struck by how eerily silent it was at times. One could easily hear the footfalls of the marchers. And every so often the chant, “Not one more!”
After the March, participants gathered at a local brewery where kids drank soda and everyone shared their thoughts and feelings. I heard words of frustration, words of anger. I heard words of grief as legislators were challenged to make things better. School safety should not be a partisan issue. Republican, Democrat, or unaffiliated, we all love our children and want them to be safe in our schools, houses of worship, and on our streets.
I walked in awe behind the hundreds who walked ahead of me. I listened to the people who spoke. I cannot and will not ignore them. At the end of the day, we must act to stop the carnage, the slaughter of so many thousands of innocents. Our kids understand this and so do I. We can and must do something! For my part, I will not let them down.

Norm

 

I Will Fight for Medicaid Expansion

Is health care only for people of means?

When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed in 2010, it included an offer to expand Medicaid to our poorest neighbors. The Budget and Tax Center (BTC) estimates that at least 380,000 people would have benefited in North Carolina. And other estimates are as high as 500,000 people. The plan was for the federal government to shoulder nearly 100% of the additional cost.

So why did the NC legislature refuse to expand Medicaid? Cynically, I believe it is because Republicans in Raleigh just didn’t like the idea of adopting any Obama initiative. My opponent claims there is too much Federal red tape. He is letting people suffer and perhaps even die because he doesn’t want to work through some red tape!

Healthcare for the poorest among us can dramatically change and improve the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of people. Instead of getting medical care through emergency rooms (for which we all pay), our neighbors can get routine health care that will help them avoid emergencies.

Plus, Medicaid expansion would be good for the economy! The BTC estimates that expanding Medicaid could create 23,000 good paying jobs and rescue rural health facilities (which are reducing services and even closing!) Right now, NC taxpayers send billions of dollars to DC, and don’t get anything back for it. If we accepted the Medicaid Expansion, those tax dollars would come back to us and back into our local economy.

This should be a no-brainer. Health care should not only be for those who can afford it. It should be the right of every citizen to have access to health care. When I go to Raleigh as your Senator, I will fight for Medicaid Expansion.

Career Educator Norm Bossert Announces Run for Senate District 48

Today, career educator and retired principal of the Black Mountain Elementary School Norm Bossert announced his candidacy for the North Carolina State Senate district 48.

“Don’t let my soft demeanor fool you – I will fight and fight hard for the people of this state,” Norm said. “It is time to renew our trust in each other and in our elected officials.”

Prior to announcing his candidacy, Norm traveled the district listening to voters in Transylvania, Henderson, and southern Buncombe County. Voters voiced many of the same concerns: health care, the economy, and public education.

“It was heartbreaking to hear how many of my neighbors tell me they feel like our government isn’t working for them,” Norm continued. “A policeman and his wife told me they are afraid that treating their child’s M.S. will bankrupt their family if Medicaid is cut. I listened to a single mom talk about her struggle to feed, clothe and properly house her two sons as a grill cook at $8.45 an hour. A man whose mother managed to put him and his two sisters through college working as a maid can’t afford the $18,941 a year needed to send his son to Appalachian State University. What’s that say about our state?”

In 44 years as a professional educator, Norm’s strongest suit has always been his commitment: commitment to his students, to quality education, to getting people to talk to each other, to getting results for everyone. Norm promises to take that commitment to the state Senate and find sensible solutions that create real progress for everyone.

“We need new leaders, not more politicians, in our state government,” Norm said. “People who will expand Medicaid, help bring good jobs to our rural areas, and invest in our young people, not saddle them with debt. I’m committed to finding common ground and real solutions, and I’d be honored to have your support.”