…and we have to do something, says Deborah Gerhardt, who wrote this compelling lead story for Slate.com.
She’s seen three of her son’s middle school teachers leave this past year alone, attributing their exits to an intentional assault on teachers in our state.
What she’s seen is what we’ve heard all along from teachers—and you can read their personal stories over at Your Soapbox.
If you talk to a teacher in North Carolina, you will hear the bitter truth of how difficult it is for them to make ends meet. Most teachers at Ben’s school work at least one extra job. An elementary school teacher told me that his daughters do not have the chance to play soccer or cello like his students. He has no discretionary income left to spare.
In November parents and teachers met in my home to listen to the teachers’ concerns and make a plan of action. We learned that, only a few months into the school year, our middle school had no more paper and printer ink and no funds to buy more. The next morning, parents brought them in. We are organizing volunteers to supervise lunch so our teachers will have a planning hour. I used to think “wearing red for public ed” on Wednesdays was silly. Now I understand that this quiet gesture shows we hear the demoralizing messages from Raleigh, and we disagree. A social studies teacher and I designed a red “Pay our Teachers First” T-shirt and a website to raise money and awareness. One chilly morning, parents and children held signs and cheered as teachers walked into work. A math teacher was so moved by this rare sign of recognition, she burst into tears. Our children made a film to encourage generous holiday donations. My neighbor Melinda set up a crowdfunding site to collect them. More than a hundred generous gifts came in so quickly, the Deposit a Gift site owner called to ask for our secret.