Students Deserve More.
Over 100 North Carolina teachers, public school workers, and parents tried to present to Governor Pat McCrory at the end of their 20-mile march to his office on June 14 and 15. After a decade of budget cuts and a general lack of resources, the teachers and parents have had enough.
The group, formed by Organize 2020, a NC Public Schools grassroots organization, wanted to address a few points with McCrory. Namely, that he expand Medicaid, spend the budget surplus on students, and repeal HB2.
Although McCrory knew of the requested meeting in advance, the Capitol building was shut down early and he refused to meet with the group citing a “previous engagement." The group, demanding to be heard, took to the streets. When the police came and threatened arrests, everyone dispersed to the sidewalks except for 14 teachers who linked arms and formed a line across the road.
The 14 were eventually arrested and released. Many of the arrested teachers wrote their own perspectives on why they refused to give up the line, which I encourage you to read. These stories are moving, powerful, and may just be one of the most important things you read all day. This is the state of our public education system from the soldiers on the front lines.
"I used to look at the daily mug shot reports in the online versions of the local paper, but I had to stop because seeing my [students] photos every day became less grounding and sobering and more depressing and angering.”
-Bryan Proffitt, President of the Durham Association of Educators
“We don’t have textbooks in history class. My students can only receive medical care if they get injured Tuesday morning between 9 and 12 because we have a part-time nurse.”
-Anca Stefan, Language Arts/History/Journalism Teacher
"My son needs to see that teachers, parents and his mom care so much for his future that we WILL carry his burdens so that he/they won’t have to.”
-Dawn Wilson, Mother/Instructional Assistant for Durham Public Schools/Former Police Officer
“There are three dictionaries in my classroom. I have 32 English IV textbooks for 120 students. If I want a classroom set of novels for students, I am told to set up a fundraising website and ask the public for money -- the same public whose tax dollars are withheld from public schools.”
-Dr. Amy Swain, high school English teacher
“I did not cry from shame or self pity. I did not cry because I had become something I have tried my entire life to avoid. I cried because I chose to be put into handcuffs at 26, while some of my students have already been in handcuffs by 15.”
-Alyssa Putt, Language Arts Teacher
“I had committed myself to protecting kids when I became a teacher 11 years ago. I had sworn an oath. And if this is what it was going to take to show people just how dire our situation is in our public schools, I had to do it.”
-Jessica Benton, Special Education Teacher
Since being released, the 14 teachers are more committed than ever to the fight for public education reform in North Carolina.
If you want to support their cause, you can visit them at Organize2020.