The NCGA is planning to be back in session this Saturday at 10:30 am. Stay tuned for plans to greet them. We'll share details when we get them. Plan to be there if you can!
As the North Carolina General Assembly's (NCGA) Short Session began on May 16th, 20,000 teachers, parents, students, and other advocates marched for educational funding. That afternoon, 3000 teachers were allowed into the legislative building to speak with legislators. Their voices were heard echoing from the gallery, "Remember, remember, we vote in November!"
Did they accomplish anything? Not as much as they wanted, by a long shot. Less than a month later, Governor Cooper vetoed the budget citing the NCGA's lack of investment in education as a major reason. Leaders of the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) say that they are not surprised that their requests were not embraced by the Republican-led legislature. Defunding public schools has been a trend in North Carolina since 2011 despite organized efforts such as the historical March for Students and Rally for Respect. Though their protests are nonpartisan, they say the goal is to elect “pro-education” candidates in November.
So how do they plan to accomplish this, what’s next? Mark Jewell, president of NCAE, says the group will hold an
“education summer” to educate the community by knocking on doors and registering voters. In an interview with the News & Observer, he elaborates, "We’re going to make sure that we have a turnout that we’ve never seen before in a mid-term election and that it’s going to be public education that drives the turnout. . . . It’s not a Republican issue. It’s not a Democratic issue. It’s a North Carolina issue."
Another group founded by a North Carolina public school teacher is Red4EdNC. Members of this group are asking teachers to sign its “Declaration in Defense of North Carolina’s Public Schoolchildren.” They say a “Teachers Congress” will follow this declaration with the goal of developing “collective actions” if positive changes are not made.
So what can you do to help? Support teachers and public schoolchildren by:
- learning more about their needs. Read more about the decline in funding of public schools and the actions needed to make improvements here and here;
- raise awareness by talking to others about why this is important; and
- vote in November and encourage others to do the same.