Why NC Teachers are Skipping School This Week

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Last Monday, my daughter came home with an unusual handout in her folder. It was not a fundraiser for inevitably embarrassing pictures of my child. It wasn’t a permission slip.

It was an informational bulletin from the PTA about why my local school district is not having school today.

Why? Because #itspersonal.

The economy in North Carolina is thriving. Unemployment is down, wages are up. But not for our teachers.

According to the National Education Association, North Carolina teacher pay is 9th from the bottom of all 50 states, ranking number 41. Our instructional staff ranks even lower, at 46th in the nation. We are also 44th in spending per student.

If North Carolina wants to be first in education, how can they pay teachers close to last?

And if you found out that 80 percent of the country was getting paid more for a job that you know you do well, wouldn’t you go and ask for a raise? I sure would.

So our teachers are doing what they have to do to ensure a bright future for our children and for themselves. They are making it personal.

On May 16, teachers from all over North Carolina will be wearing Red for Education, and bringing their fight to the General Assembly on the first day that they are in session.

In advance of this date, the Durham School Board (my district) met and decided that they would close school on the date. When the Board held the emergency meeting to discuss contingency plans, at least 1,028 teachers had already requested a personal day off. During the public comment section, many parents voiced their support of the teachers, and so did several members of the School Board.

The teachers are raising their voices to be heard. With our help, those voices can be amplified.

What can I do? May16.org, the official site for the event, offers the following suggestions:

  • Support your teachers in person at the day of Action in Raleigh. Details at May16.org
  • Gather your colleagues for a special edition #Red4Ed picture with a sign or banner to show your support for all the educators, parents and students in Raleigh.
  • Join the Twitter Town Hall on May 16 by searching for #MakeItHappen on Twitter. You can tweet comments, questions, and demands to your legislators and share your #RedforEd pictures and how you #MakeItHappen every day.
  • Write a letter and make phone calls to your legislators with a clear ask for support for the demands we bring to Raleigh.
  • Send a picture of yourself with your message for a colleague to deliver to your legislators.
  • Get at least five others to go to Raleigh in your place.

Our teachers have one of the most difficult, and most important jobs in the world. They are responsible for educating the next generation of leaders, scientists, entrepreneurs, and, indeed, teachers.

As for the question of whether they should get paid more money? It’s a no brainer.

 




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