Commentary

NC teacher: Why I’m marching tomorrow (and why you should too)

By Greg ChildressI am a North Carolina teacher.

With each passing day, I am inspired by the voices of my professional colleagues and community in the Brunswick County Schools, New Hanover County Schools and throughout North Carolina.

Tomorrow, for the second year in a row, I will join thousands of supporters of public education as they peacefully converge on our state’s capital.

As you may have heard, five policy priorities are set for tomorrow’s day of advocacy and action: 1) establishing a $15 minimum wage for all school personnel and a five percent cost of living raise for school employees and retirees; 2) meeting national standards for support staff like psychologists, social workers, counselors, nurses and librarians in all schools; 3) expanding Medicaid to improve the health of students and their families; 4) reinstating retiree health benefits; and 5) restoring compensation for advanced degrees.

But there are other important reasons to stand up and be counted tomorrow. For the past several years, I have been particularly interested in teacher leadership and the inclusion of student voices for school improvement. Recently, through my studies in this area, I’ve come to realize more and more how closely connected teacher leadership and high-quality school experiences for all students are. I understand that this link is one of the reasons so many educators (as well as other stakeholders, like parents, administrators, policymakers, and citizens) have been moved to interrupt their daily routines to travel to Raleigh on May 1st. I also understand why participating in this day of advocacy on a school day as compared to participating on a Saturday or a day in the summer makes a bigger statement. We need your attention. Read more