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Darts and laurels: NC teachers deserve better from legislators

Laurels to the dedicated educators who awaited students returning to schools in Rowan County and across the state this week. They truly deserve our collective appreciation, and, unfortunately, that may be about all they get this year as budget negotiators in Raleigh say they’ve reached an agreement that would keep salaries for most teachers right where they are, based on their experience levels. They will each get a $750 bonus under the agreement — a budget being piecemealed together though it was due July 1. However, that bonus amounts to less than $15 a week, and many teachers spend more than that out-of-pocket for classroom supplies. It’s not a sum that will keep them from leaving the state for better-paying jobs. And the bonus will come at Christmas, leading Progress NC Action executive director Gerrick Brenner to say it “amounts to a lump of coal for teachers.” He’s right. And they’re not the ones who deserve a lump of coal. That would be the legislators patting themselves on the back right now.

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Speaking of schools, dart to the confusion that surrounded lunchtime at East Rowan and South Rowan high schools this week. A revised schedule — combining time for things like tutoring with lunch — led to crowded cafeterias, long lines, some students sitting on the floors to eat and some not eating at all for fear they’d be late to class. Students and parents took to social media to vent their frustration. One sophomore’s mother called the revised schedule — which she learned of just this week — “screwed up.” Principals at the two schools said the first day of a new academic is always a little difficult and promised the kinks would be worked out. Until then, they said students would not be penalized for waiting to get their lunches. At least they won’t go hungry.

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Laurels to the people at the Rowan Museum who came up with the upcoming exhibit, “Tour of Duty: A Tribute to Vietnam Veterans.” For too long, those who served in the Vietnam War were not given the thanks and respect they deserved for serving their country. This year marks the 50th anniversary of U.S. involvement in that conflict, and the Rowan Museum is collecting veterans’ stories for inclusion in what promises to be an innovative exhibit using some of the latest technology. The museum on North Main Street invites veterans to come share their stories today, tomorrow and next weekend for the exhibit, which opens Sept. 13.

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