Join us for a Day of Action May 1, 2019. 700 S. Salisbury St. Raleigh. 9am - 5pm.

Get ready for May 1 because we are putting on our walking shoes and marching to the NC General Assembly to demand schools our students deserve.

Who should attend? EVERYONE! This is not just a march for teachers. This is a march for North Carolina’s future.

For educators: The most recent count I have seen shows 23 school districts have closed for May 1. (See list here which is periodically updated.) We need to make sure we are talking to our colleagues about the importance of joining this Day of Action. We need teachers, instructional assistants, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, custodians, and other support personnel. We need every public school employee to be there. As a reminder, here are the five issues we are fighting for

  • Provide enough school librarians, psychologists, social  workers, counselors, nurses, and other health professionals to meet  national standards
  • Provide $15 minimum wage  for all school personnel, 5% raise for all ESPs (non-certified staff),  teachers, admin, and a 5% cost of living adjustment for retirees
  • Expand Medicaid to improve the health of our students and families
  • Reinstate state retiree health benefits eliminated by the General Assembly in 2017
  • Restore advanced degree compensation stripped by the General Assembly in 2013

(Read more here about why each of these issues is important.)

This is something that touches all of us!

For those districts that have not announced closings for May 1. We need educators to put in their leave days NOW. This is your right! (Read from the policy manual here and the leave guide here.) The clock is ticking because personal days need to be approved five days in advance. We know that the challenges our staff and students face is bigger than us and our schools. No matter how dedicated we are and how hard we work, we cannot make the needed change on our own. This takes our collective voices to rise up and be heard. We have tried writing emails and letters. We have rallied on weekends and met one on one with legislators. Last year an estimated 30,000 educators and supporters joined together in what felt to me like one of the most beautiful experiences I’d ever been a part of. All of these people took to the streets wearing their red because these children were worth it. Despite what the opposition may be saying, we are not walking out on our students. We are marching FOR our students. Don’t sit back and say I’m just one person. You are one person who is passionate about your work and your work is our students in North Carolina Public Schools. Together with your colleagues and community members YOU will make a difference. Put in your leave NOW!

For parents: This is for your children! Jim Martin, chair of the Wake County Board of Education said, “our teachers are not taking the day off. Instead, they are taking leave from the classroom to advocate for public education, for their students and for your children.” (Read here.) He urged parents to be supportive of them. We ask that you support educators by being understanding that this is not just a day of missed instruction. This is a day to teach our children about standing up for what is right.We ask that you bring your children and march with educators. On May 1, the streets of Raleigh and the NC General Assembly is our classroom. We know that the needs of public schools is great. We have faced drastic cuts since 2013. (Read more here and here.) It will take all of us: educators, parents and students, and community supporters to come together to tell the legislators that our public schools deserve better.

For other community members: Lace up your shoes! This is your fight too! Whether you have children in public schools or not, strong public schools benefits you. Public Schools First NC says it so beautifully:

We believe that public schools are the foundation of the American dream and the cornerstone of our democracy. Public education cultivates the next generation of thoughtful and engaged citizens and it embodies one of the most fundamental ideals of the American dream: equality of opportunity. The basis of equality of opportunity is belief that every American child, no matter the circumstances of his or her background, deserves a fair start in life. Public education can give even the poorest child a chance to excel through adequate resources, opportunity and the nurturing guidance of excellent teachers. . . . Public schools take all children who enter their school doors and provide them with an education, regardless of their race or their parents’ income or where they live. With adequate resources and excellent teachers, public schools are the best places to promote student growth and academic achievement. . . . We believe that effective public schools benefit everyone—from the students they serve to the businesses that recruit well-educated graduates to the taxpayers who benefit when well-prepared students graduate and give back to the community. We believe that when a society educates its citizens, it preserves its democracy and fuels a vibrant economy. Every member of society needs the necessary skills to fully participate in the constitutional freedoms of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

These are truly powerful words. One of the most important things to point out from what is written above is that "effective public schools benefit everyone." Also, for public schools to be effective they must have "adequate resources." (Read more here.) We are marching to tell the NCGA to provide "adequate resources" to our public schools!

According to NC Policy Watch a poll shows most North Carolina voters support May 1 teacher march and rally.

Most notable results include more than 70% of those polled said they support the May 1 march. This included more than half of Republicans that were polled. Only 33% of respondents said they approved of the NCGA’s performance when it came to public education.

Seventy-seven percent (including 65 percent of Republicans) support providing enough school librarians, psychologists, social workers, counselors, nurses, and other health professionals to meet national standards.
Seventy-one percent (including 56 percent of Republicans) support raising the minimum wage for school support employees like bus drivers, cafeteria workers and teacher assistants.
Sixty-three percent (including 45 percent of Republicans) support raising state income taxes on the wealthiest 1 percent in order to increase public education funding.

When we say #InThisTogether, we mean everyone. This is an opportunity for all public school employees, parents, students, and community supporters to come together to hold our collective voice high and speak up for the needs of our public schools. We must tell the NCGA that our students and staff deserve better! Join us on May 1.

Tags: education, ncga, ncpol, voter-issue-health-care ncga voter-issue-education )

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