On May 1st, educators in North Carolina have called for a day of action. They have highlighted five main issues that they’d like to see addressed this budget cycle. As a parent, I will be marching with them. We are in the midst of a public education crisis and it is time to demand better.
I could give you a page of statistics and bar graphs, but it feels no one reads those anymore. I can tell you from personal experience that my son is in crisis in an underfunded public school. He is on the autism spectrum. There is so much I can’t do to help him in his journey, but the one thing I can do is work to advocate for his teachers and his public school to get the support he needs.
We can’t hide our heads in the sand, support means funding. We can’t can’t keep patching things over. Our roofs are literally leaking. Our children don’t have enough busses or drivers, Our children with life threatening health issues don’t have a nurse. Our children struggling with trauma don’t have a mental health professional in their school. Our children have lost thousands of vital TAs that assist with everything from classwork to our special needs kids. Our public schools are starving for funding. This is not just a problem. This is a crisis.
To help my son and many like him, I’ve joined forces with educators and fellow advocates. We’ve knocked politely on the doors of our Senators and Representatives. We’ve been a part of lobby days, big and small. We’ve made formal appointments, or we’ve randomly shown up, and had conversations with our lawmakers in and out of the hallways of our General Assembly. We’ve been part of organizations, held demonstrations, and events. We’ve sent invitations to our lawmakers and officials. We’ve used social media, and engaged politicians on Twitter. We’ve rallied in summers and on weekends. We’ve been nice.
We’ve been told to be patient. We’ve been told it takes baby steps. We’ve been told the budget is tight and we can’t do everything. We’ve seen band aids placed on top of bad policies. We’ve watched as even the baby step bills die in committee. We’ve experienced closed doors, unanswered emails and phone calls. We’ve gotten polite notes of thank you, but no. Mark Johnson tells us things will be better in 2030.
We demand better for our children. We’re tired of baby steps to nowhere, We’re tired of a constrained budget manufactured by corporate interests. We’re’ tired of the lack of funding and bad policies. We’re tired of being told to wait. Our children can’t wait. Many children are in crisis in their public schools across the state at this very moment. Now is not the time to ask. Now is the time to demand.
No more waiting. No more asking. No more starving our public schools. March with our educators as they demand better for our public schools. March with the bus drivers and staff to demand a living wage. March with librarians, nurses, counselors, and psychologists as they demand to expand their numbers. March with our retired teachers as they demand back retiree benefits and a decent cost of living increase. March with the community to demand health care for families and children. March with parents, but most of all march for all the kids in crisis across the state. March with me, march with your fists raised high.
If you’re in the Cary area, join us on April 24th from 5pm -8pm at Jordan Lake Brewery for advocacy, information, and fellowship.