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On the Road with the Pink Slip Truth Tour
Progress NC has been hitting the road since mid-September with its Pink Slip Truth Tour, a traveling media event that highlights the broken promises of state leadership when it comes to education in our state and asks them to restore funding to our classrooms. The centerpiece of our tour is a display featuring nearly 1,800 pink slips, each one with the name of a county on it to represent a teacher or teaching assistant laid off in that county.
Since mid-September, our PSTT has appeared across the state, in both urban and rural areas, and often in conjunction with NC House Speaker Thom Tillis's Town Halls. The PSTT is educating local residents and local media on the promises made to protect the classroom during the 2011 budget process vs. the reality of nearly 2,000 teachers and teaching assistants being laid off at the beginning of the school year.
We've been demanding answers from GOP leadership and have successfully brought this key issue into the mainstream media and made it part of the political debate. We will continue to tour and press the issue until North Carolinians get a straight answer and action is taken to restore our classroom resources.
For more on our PSTT, please review the media coverage below detailing our tour stops as well as the political conversations they inspired. And if you are interested in being part of our tour, please write us and we'll let you know when we intend to be in your neck of the woods. We are especially interested in hearing from teachers, teaching assistants, parents and school children affected by the cuts.
Under the Dome: December 20, 2011
House Speaker Thom Tillis, as he defended the state education budget, promised repeatedly this year to call local superintendents to Raleigh to account for their spending. Tillis insisted districts were getting enough money to prevent layoffs of teachers and teacher assistants. If superintendents did lay people off, Tiilis said, they'd have to explain. Teachers and teacher assistants around the state were laid off. School started. Rep. Brian Holloway, a Stokes County Republican, said after a meeting with Tillis a few months ago a House-Senate education oversight committee that Holloway helps lead would be the forum for the superintendent questioning. Read more
High Point, NC: December 15, 2011
Thom Tillis, the NC Speaker of the House, said the new Republican majority in the NC General Assembly had to make some tough decisions during the 2011 legislative sessions, but he felt certain "most of those decisions were the right ones." Tillis, a Republican from Mecklenburg County, made his comments during a town-hall meeting at High Point City Hall on Dec. 15. Read more
State House Speaker Thom Tillis defended the Republican-crafted state budget during a town hall Thursday, saying that GOP legislative leaders had to make tough choices this year in a dire fiscal situation. Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, spent an hour and a half speaking and fielding questions on a variety of subjects during the town hall that drew about 40 people to High Point City Hall....
The Republican-crafted budget has drawn intense criticism in many quarters, especially the impact on the largest segment of state government - education.
Representatives of the Raleigh-based group Progress N.C. erected three large easels outside City Hall bearing 1,800 pink slips to symbolize teachers and teacher assistants laid off in North Carolina due to state budget cuts. Read more
North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis defended the 2011 long session of the first Republican-controlled General Assembly since 1870 at a town hall meeting in the High Point City Council chambers at High Point city hall on Thursday, Dec. 15.
Tillis was accompanied by Democratic District 60 state Rep. Marcus Brandon and Republican District 61 state Rep. John Faircloth, both of whom are from High Point and represent Guilford County. The meeting also drew Republican District 73 state Rep. Larry Brown, who represents Davidson and Forsyth counties, and former Republican District 61 state Rep. Laura Wiley.
Tillis fielded questions on education, the justice system, the state lottery and voter-identification bills during the sparsely attended town hall meeting. The 5 p.m. meeting followed a luncheon with local leaders at the Showplace building. Read more
House Speaker Thom Tillis held what was likely his final town hall meeting of the year in High Point on Thursday. Tillis again defended the ... Read more
Pittsboro, Chatham County, NC: December 12, 2011
Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis of Mecklenburg County has made 24 stops on a town hall tour in which he's been taking questions from audience members from Wilmington to Murphy. He ultimately wants to do 50 meetings.
Tills says he wants to talk about the accomplishments of the Republican-led Legislature, help people understand tradeoffs between spending cuts and taxes and encourage civil political discourse. While some audience members in Pittsboro last week praised Tillis, others criticized the GOP agenda on taxes, education and environmental regulation. Read more
Matthews, NC: December 5, 2011
WINSTON-SALEM -- NC Speaker of the House Thom Tillis hinted Monday that more money could be headed to state pre-kindergarten programs that took 20 percent cuts earlier this year. But Tillis said Tuesday that he was talking about adding flexibility to ... Read more
House Speaker Thom Tillis is at again, telling an audience at a town hall meeting in Matthews Monday that the Republican budget cut too much, as if he is powerless to do anything about it. Tillis also said lawmakers "disproportionately" cut money for ... Read more
Controversial changes in North Carolina's school calendar could be reconsidered next year, House Speaker Thom Tillis said Monday night. The Cornelius Republican also indicated that another voter ID bill could be offered in the spring ... Read more
It's time for the Republican legislators to stop deluding themselves about the adequacy of their funding of public education.
They did not protect classroom instruction when they cut $350 million from the state education budget this year. They did not protect the public schools as a whole and they did not just cut waste.
They cut essential programs, instructional personnel and dearly needed support staff. And, if they don't come up with additional money for education in the spring, they will force schools to cut again next year. Read more...
Boone, NC: November 15, 2011
Education protestors were set up outside the Broyhill Inn to intercept those going to the Thom Tillis Town Meeting, there to get their message to the gathering even before Tillis spoke, Gerrick Brenner of 'Progress North Carolina' State-Based advocacy group showed off their 'Pink Slip Truth Tour.' Brenner called Tillis' math 'Nonsense Promises' "Promises made, promises kept--it's a bunch of nonsense--it really is. One of his points that he highlights in that flier is that they fully funded every teaching position. It's just a bunch of hocus pocus."
About 150 people attended a town hall event with N.C. Speaker of the House Thom Tillis November 14 that was jointly hosted by the ASU Student Government Association and the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce at the Broyhill Inn. Tillis said he had hosted 17 town hall meetings, which he called the "first of their kind," throughout the state before coming to Boone and that by the time he's finished, the number of events could total 50 or 60. "By and large, they want to talk about education and what are we doing to try and create jobs," Tillis said about attendees at his town halls.
Plenty of folks were eager to ask questions at the local town hall event, which went about 20 to 30 minutes over the allotted time. Questions ranged from education to campaign financing to business to the environment. Susan Phipps asked why a brochure distributed at the town hall claimed that the House "fully funded every teacher and teacher assistant in the state" when in fact thousands of classroom jobs were cut--the Department of Public Instruction's count is more than 1,800. Read more
Rutherfordton, NC: November 5, 2011
State Rep. Mike Hager introduced the current NC Speaker of the House, Thom Tillis, to the audience at Rutherford County Annex. Neighboring county elected officials and local officials were recognized in the audience. Tillis stated that "Mike (Hager) has been a great asset to our caucus and has stepped up to the challenges. They (freshman) learned a lot and had a lot to learn." Read more
Another weekend "town hall" for House Speaker Thom Tillis, another open mouth, insert foot episode. (Thanks to the intrepid videographers at Progress NC for the link).
Got that? The Speaker of the North Carolina House is bragging that he passed a far right piece of legislation that he knew would unfairly restrict voting by disabled people and seniors merely as an act of political gamesmanship! Read more
Hickory, NC: November 1, 2011
Catawba County-area residents met State House Speaker Thom Tillis on Tuesday with questions and concerns about the state budget adopted this summer.
Multiple residents voiced concerns about large cuts to education that the state approved in June. Cliff Moone, the 10th District Democratic Party chairman, called the cuts "reckless and short-sided" on Tuesday and referenced the nearly 1,800 teaching and teaching assistant jobs that have been eliminated since June across the state. State cuts to public education cost Catawba County's three school systems about $11 million in public funding this year. The cuts forced superintendents to make choices of what to cut, and now more than 54 classroom positions have been lost in Catawba County, according to the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. Read more
NC Speaker of the House talks about the loss of teaching jobs (video from the Hickory Daily Record)
Outside the auditorium, Progress North Carolina's "Pink Slip Truth Tour" demonstrated with placards displaying quotes from Tillis and Senate President Pro... Read more
On Progress NC and the Pink Slip Truth Tour: Liberal-leaning Progress NC brought ... "Progress NC calls on Speaker Thom Tillis to admit responsibility for... Read more
Robeson County, NC: October 27, 2011
LUMBERTON -- The speaker of the N.C. House on Thursday vowed that county school superintendents will have to defend their positions to use state money for other reasons than to keep teachers and teacher assistants in the classroom. Thom Tillis said during a town hall meeting at Robeson Community College that the state's 2011 budget included enough money to fund all teaching and teacher assistant positions in school districts across the state. Read more: The Robesonian - Tillis defends budget during Robeson stop ...
Wake County, NC: October 27, 2011
WTVD: Progress North Carolina will be back in the Capital City Thursday to fight against education cuts. The "Pink Slip Truth Tour" has been going across the state since September to draw awareness about the cuts. Thursday the tour is stopping at the General Assembly before a meeting of the Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations...
Forsyth County, NC: October 25, 2011
WINSTON-SALEM: During a midday town hall appearance at the Golden Corral restaurant at Hanes Mall, Tillis cited small-business tax relief, regulatory reform and other legislation as successes, saying his goal is to make the state the envy of others for business growth.
Tillis, speaking to about 100 people, said the more the state can reduce the tax load for businesses, the more people they can hire. "I want to make every other speaker of the house worry about what we are going to do next to make North Carolina the most competitive state in the country," Tillis said.
Outside the restaurant, two small groups of protesters took a different view of the year's legislative session, which saw the Republicans in control of both houses for the first time in more than 100 years. One group of Democrats held signs criticizing GOP actions. Another protest, by the advocacy group Progress NC, included a display of pink slips representing laid-off teachers. Gerrick Brenner, the group's executive director, said Tillis' earlier claims that the GOP budget restored funding for teachers and teacher assistants in grades K-12 didn't pan out.
Albermarle, Stanly County, NC: October 12, 2011
Troy, Montgomery County, NC: October 12, 2011
Montgomery County doesn't usually get protesters, but then again, having the speaker of the N.C. House of Representatives isn't all that common either.
Troy and Albemarle were Oct. 12 stops on Speaker Thom Tillis' town hall meeting tour of the state. Signs from Progress NC's Pink Slip Truth Tour at the driveway entrance to the Uwharrie Mountain Lodge, along with reporters and cameramen from WRAL and WTVD in Raleigh/Durham, met Tillis and Rep. Justin Burr as they arrived about a half hour late for the 11:30 meeting...
Thom Tillis taking criticism following comments he made about performing random drug testing on welfare recipients
House Speaker Thom Tillis on Wednesday stepped back from comments he made last week favoring drug testing for people who receive public assistance.
Mt. Airy, Surry County, NC: October 12, 2011
responded to critics protesting state budget cuts that led to more than 1,800 teachers and assistants being laid off by saying that it was the who decided to lay off the educators, not legislators.
The school officials could have laid off administrative employees rather than teachers,, R-Mecklenburg, said Monday night at a town-hall meeting at the in Mount Airy. His comments came after members of displayed three posters outside with 1,853 pink slips that represented the number of teachers and assistants that are estimated to have been laid off in because of state budget cuts.
Mount Airy News: Prior to the meeting, members of the group Progress NC had posters set up outside as part of theirPink Slip Truth Tour claiming that Tillis has not kept ...
Waxhaw, Union County, NC: September 30, 2011
From the Enquirer Journal. Subscription required.
"I am very, very concerned," said Ed Davis, superintendent of Union County Public Schools. "We have whittled and whittled. We've done everything we can to protect the classroom. We're down to the point where we're going to hit the classroom really hard this year."
In a school district proud of its public education, Union County residents told Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis on Friday that they didn't know how much longer they could do more with less. More than 50 residents attended the meeting at Cuthbertsons about how to better fund schools. On Friday in Waxhaw, he gave a long-winded answer suggesting that new taxes and fees aren't on the table for consideration until the state looks at selling off unneeded assets. on High School, where Principal Rob Jackson was recently recognized as the 2011 Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year.
In his town hall forums, House Speaker Thom Tillis continues to get tough questions...
Raleigh, Wake County, NC: October 4, 2011
WRAL.com: At the General Assembly today, progressive advocacy group Progress NC set up its "pink slip" tour outside the meeting of the Education Oversight committee. Four big pieces of posterboard held more than 1800 pink post-it notes with county names on them, representing the 1,853 teachers and TAs the DPI says have been laid off. Executive director Gerrick Brenner says lawmakers are desperately trying to dodge responsibility for cuts to K-12 education. "They pulled the money and they passed the buck on who's to blame for the cuts to the classroom," Brenner said. "They clearly said they were funding K-12 education, and then they asked superintendents to make $400 million in discretionary cuts? That doesn't wash. And you can see what the results are."
Wilmington, New Hanover County, NC: September 26, 2011
WECT-TV6: WILMINGTON, NC - Progress North Carolina is bringing their "Pink Slip Truth Tour" to the Wilmington area Thursday afternoon at Cape Fear Community College. The goal of the tour is to hold lawmakers accountable for the classroom cuts across North ...
Star News Online: But the questions on each subject ultimately came back to one thing -- why state legislators haven't done more to help the 10.1 percent of North Carolinians who are currently out of work. "On June 3, you said we had a budget that restored all funding for K-12 education," said Tammie Veilleux, who worked for six years as a teaching assistant in Washington County. "Then on June 10, my superintendent told me that I'm a teacher's assistant out of a job, and I don't understand the discrepancy."
The tone of the event of the Wilmington town hall was polite, and there was plenty of praise for the legislature. But there was also some bite to some of the comments. Such was the case with Veilleux, who lost her teaching assistant position after working for six years in Washington County schools. She read a statement Tillis made on June 3 that said all funding had been restored for K-12 public education and then noted that on June 10 she was one of 21 teaching assistants in the Washington County school system given a pink slip.
WNCT, GREENVILLE, N.C. - Members of Progress NC made one of their last stops on the "Pink Slip Truth Tour." Members are calling on state leaders to own up to what they say is gutting the state school system. They're hoping the protest will help restore funding to the classroom. 1,853 pink slips were displayed at Evans Park. One for every teacher and teacher assistant laid off this year due to budget cuts.
Sep 28, 2011 - Progress NC's "Pink Slip Truth Tour" has been making its way across the state and they made their last stop today in Greenville. ...
Members of Progress NC made one of their last stops on the "Pink Slip Truth Tour." Members are calling on state leaders to οwn up to what they ѕау is ...
WXXI, CHANNEL 12: The Pink Slip Truth Tour asks lawmakers to do something about state layoffs (great video clip!).
Pink Slip Truth Tour Reaches Out in Greensboro
My Fox 8: Members of the group 'Progress North Carolina' are bringing attention to teacher job cuts in NC by showing people just how many teachers got pink slips due to recent budget cuts, despite promises to protect the classrooms. Members of the group say they ...
Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, NC: September 18, 2011
As House Speaker Thom Tillis attends town hall forums throughout the state, his reaction to widespread teacher layoffs is surprising. "I can't answer your question," Tillis told a teaching assistant in Wilmington, who appreciated the answer. "I am sorry that happened to you. But we are going to get to the bottom of that."
Asheville, Buncombe County, NC: September 13, 2011
"A nonprofit group is blaming state leaders tonight for approving a budget that they say cut thousands of teacher jobs...."
NBC17.com: "The numbers prove the promise to 'protect the classroom' does not pass a simple truth test," says Gerrick Brenner, Executive Director for Progress North Carolina. "The voodoo math behind 'protect the classroom' might pass a state budget but it flunks ...
Sep 12, 2011 - Progress NC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit affiliated with Progress Now, a national ... On the "Pink Slip Truth Tour," the group is particularly targeting ...
World News Network: Sep 13, 2011 - Progress NC says lawmakers lied about education cuts (English) ... the state with laid off educators as part of its "Pink Slip Truth Tour" ...
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Click here to join us here at Progress North Carolina! We're working hard to get people to put the best interests of our state ahead of party labels and ideology. We need North Carolinians to help us spread the word about protecting the policies that made NC great and safeguarding the strengths of our forward-thinking state government. When you join us, we'll put you on our mailing list and let you know how you can be part of a chorus of voices from every corner of NC demanding fairness and common sense from our elected leaders.