Schools to Host a Walk-In on November 4
While some teachers across the state are prepared to stage a walkout on November 4 in protest of low teacher pay and other policies that have a negative impact on public education, Iredell-Statesville Schools is hosting a Walk-In, inviting parents, business leaders, school partners, elected officials, and other community members to come into schools.
“We certainly respect what those other teachers are trying to do and the message they’re trying to convey,” said Superintendent Brady Johnson. “But there’s a better way to do it. Why should our teachers have to stand alone and fight for better working conditions and additional resources for their students? We should all stand united behind our schools and our teachers.”
As a part of the Walk-In, schools are asking people to visit schools and see not only what goes on in the classroom each day, but also to learn more about the challenges facing public schools.
“Our kids come first. We want to ensure we keep quality teachers in our classrooms—teachers who have proven track records of helping students be successful,” said Johnson. “In order to do that, we have to be able to pay teachers fairly. You’d be surprised how many of our teachers—all of whom are college-educated—have to work second jobs just to make ends meet. It’s difficult for these teachers to prepare quality lesson plans and provide students with meaningful feedback about their work when they’re also working second or third shift to pay the bills.”
According to a study commissioned by the National Education Association (NEA), North Carolina currently ranks 46th lowest in average teacher pay. A year ago, North Carolina was 41st lowest.
“Is North Carolina really in a race to the top? Or are we scrambling to get to the bottom?” questioned Johnson. “Spending on public education in North Carolina is 45th lowest in America. Locally, our schools have lost nearly $12 million in state funding in the last six years, despite what some recent television advertisements say. These cuts include textbooks, teachers, support personnel, classroom supplies, transportation…the list goes on.”
District officials want visitors on November 4 to walk away with a better understanding of the implications of lawmakers’ decisions.
“Is an A-F grading system really the best way to help parents evaluate schools? Research from other states who have tried it would say ‘no’. People also need to understand that public tax dollars are funding a private school voucher program that the majority of North Carolinians oppose,” said Johnson. “When you combine that with the cuts to personnel, it’s easy to see why our educators are frustrated. We are becoming a state that no longer values public education.”
The November 4 Walk-In is open to the public, and everyone is encouraged to visit a school that day to volunteer and learn more about public education in North Carolina.
“Our teachers and students are doing remarkable work. Our graduation rate and student achievement is the highest it’s ever been, but we need support,” said Johnson. “We need the public to come stand in solidarity with our teachers and our students. We need people to come out and learn more about what truly goes on inside our buildings, as well as what challenges we face. Most importantly, we need people to take action. We need people to tell their elected officials that public education is a vital part of our community and our state, and that rather than dividing it and tearing public schools apart, public schools need their support.”
To schedule a visit to a particular school that interests you, or to be assigned to a school, contact the district’s public relations office at 704-924-2032. You may also email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For individuals who are unable to participate in the Walk-In, the district plans to also host a ‘virtual’ Walk-In. More information about this will be made available on the district’s website and social media platforms.