On Monday, both Kannapolis City Schools and Wilson County schools announced they were closing on May 1, raising the number of districts closing to at least 11 statewide. Momentum continues to build for the May 1 public education day of action in Raleigh when all North Carolina public school employees are encouraged to take a personal day and converge on the General Assembly to give the following five demands to state lawmakers:
- Provide enough school librarians, psychologists, social workers, counselors, nurses, and other health professionals to meet national standards
- Provide a $15 minimum wage for all school personnel, 5% raise for all support staff, teachers, admins, 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
Why is this so important?
- The politicians in Raleigh have done almost nothing to reverse the long-term cuts to our public schools that are making it harder and harder to give our students the quality education they deserve.
- Instead of reinvesting in public education, lawmakers would rather give huge tax breaks to millionaires and big corporations. Educators have had enough.
- Several school districts have already canceled class on May 1 — Wake, Mecklenburg, Guilford, Durham, Orange, Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Lexington, and Mooresville schools. Unfortunately, other districts such as Union County have been denying personal day requests and threatening teachers for speaking out about the General Assembly’s failure to fund public education.
Last year’s march for public schools showed politicians that educators are serious about improving public school funding — but that was just the beginning. Lawmakers are working on this year’s budget, but they still aren’t listening to educators. It’s time for us to return to Raleigh.