This weekend, hundreds of educators from all over North Carolina met in Raleigh for the 49th annual convention of the North Carolina Association of Educators. We celebrated victories in the past year, including the unprecedented May 16 Rally for Respect. The May 16 rally was instrumental in making public education the number one issue in the November general election. That election ended the supermajority responsible for many catastrophic education policies since 2011 and restored a little balance to our state government.
Now it’s time to begin the hard work of rebuilding, and we need all hands on deck once again.
On May 1, we’re calling for all employees of North Carolina schools to take a personal day and join us in Raleigh as we converge on the General Assembly to press for the following 5 changes:
- Provide enough school librarians, psychologists, social workers, counselors, nurses, and other health professionals to meet national standards
- Provide $15 minimum wage for all school personnel, 5% raise for all ESPs (non-certified staff), teachers, admin, 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
There will be opposition to the May 1 All Out rally, including people who say folks that take a personal day to fight for their students are selfish. There will be those who use fear to try to prevent North Carolina educators from uniting to demonstrate our resolve.
Let me remind you that North Carolina’s Professional Teaching Standards encourage you to be active in your advocacy, to work to improve teaching conditions and change policies that negatively impact our profession. It’s an area where we all need to be rated ‘distinguished’:
Teachers strive to improve the teaching profession. They contribute to the establishment of positive working conditions in their school, district, and across the state. They actively participate in and advocate for decision-making structures in education and government that take advantage of the expertise of teachers. Teachers promote professional growth for all educators and collaborate with their colleagues to improve the profession.
- Strive to improve the profession
- Contribute to the establishment of good working conditions
- Participate in decision-making structures
- Promote professional growth
So go ahead and put in your personal day for May 1 and ready your marching shoes. Encourage your colleagues to do the same. Let’s stand up and fight for the public schools our children deserve.