As the numbers of people planning to head to Raleigh for the May 1 Day of Action swells, a broad strategy for preventing educators from mobilizing is emerging.
In numerous counties, superintendents and school boards are offering to ‘facilitate’ delegations of teachers going to Raleigh to advocate. Union County Public Schools, for example, is congratulating itself as a ‘forward thinking’ school district for being on the front lines of fighting for good education policy and encouraging teacher leadership by allowing teachers from each school to be in Raleigh on May 1 (while ensuring schools stay open that day).
Don’t get it twisted.
These districts are doing everything they can to keep teachers from leading. What they’re after in this case is the appearance of supporting teachers, but their premise is that the terms must always be dictated from the top down rather than through a powerful movement created by everyday teachers like you and me. Their goal from the very beginning this year has been to do whatever it takes to keep schools open on May 1. Their goal has been to make sure that teachers do not have the power.
Let me be clear that the goal of May 1 is not to shut down schools. The goal is to win on five specific policy needs that thousands of educators had a voice in choosing. But the only hope we have of winning is to fill the streets of Raleigh with a powerful sea of red, to pack the legislature with folks using their teacher voices to be sure members of the General Assembly hear the echo when they’re writing this year’s budget. That means turning out in massive, unlimited numbers.
We don’t win by riding to Raleigh in the principal’s minivan with three other teachers that he’s handpicked to have the privilege of attending. We don’t win by co-signing a plan that deprives our fellow educators of the opportunity to get out there and fight for the schools our kids deserve.
There’s a lot of ugly rhetoric about Communists and far left agendas beginning to circulate around May 1. Haters gonna hate. Do not forget the moral authority that you carry as someone who has dedicated your life to public education. We are trying to win enough nurses and psychologists so our students can be healthy. We’re marching to ensure that our custodians don’t have to work 3 jobs to pay their rent. Picture their faces as you put in the personal day which is your right under state law.
And if your request is denied, screenshot that denial and get it out there for the world to see what ‘facilitating teacher advocacy’ really looks like. Then put it in that personal day again. And again. And again.
We need your power and leadership in Raleigh on May 1.