Wednesday, May 16, 2018 was an incredible day for democracy in our beloved Raleigh, NC. Exhausted from years of low per pupil funding, failure to reach national average for teacher pay and perceived lack of respect from the legislative majority within both chambers of the General Assembly post recession North Carolina educators had enough. Roughly 1/3 of the districts in the state closed for the day allowing educators from all over the state to make their collective journeys to our beautiful capital city for the #RedForEd march for respect. This allowed for the event to not only happen, but being a glowing success with a broad-reach of statewide and national coverage.
As a school administrator, a sizable chunk of my position is supporting teachers, students and the school community at large. This day was all about advocacy for a public education system that is often perceived, especially in the past decade, at the state and federal level as under attack by many forces. That said, this made my presence at the march a necessity. Time to step away from the day to day to stand proud with my brothers and sisters in education.
For years, I have been an advocate for public education. I stand up and ensure the story is being told. Verbally, through social media, within the community, etc. I’m always advocating. There is a lot of negativity being circulated, and often loudly, about what “is happening” in public schools. These are often baseless, half-truths and sadly even completely falsehoods. We as educators should be constantly telling our stories of what is happening in our schools. Share it often, share it ongoing.
Additionally, while Wednesday’s events were a beautiful thing we as educators must build momentum off of this. Many educators have been content for years with standing on the sidelines when it comes to education policy and legislation that directly effects public education.
As I posted several months ago – the time is now to get off the sidelines. At the very least, all educators should be informed and at least fairly knowledgable with policies coming from the state level that directly impact our profession.
We simply can’t leave the sky high energy from Wednesday’s events in Raleigh. Become part of the process. Be involved in local and state policy. Take that seat at the table. Engage in conversation.
Embrace the uncomfortable.
I was so very proud of many educators who came Wednesday who I know were so far out of their comfort zone in marching but were all there in support of one common goal – full funding and respect coming from the state level toward public education. That’s a beautiful thing.
The energy can’t stop there. We have the resources. Utilize them. Share our stories. Learn. Grow. Advocate.
If you’re not happy with what the lawmakers who represent you are doing with public education funding and beyond – we all hold the greatest power within our democracy…