May 16, 2018 represents North Carolina educators’ entry into the nationwide teacher rebellion against the attacks on public schools. Following the courageous efforts of teachers in West Virginia, Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, and Oklahoma, North Carolina educators are part of the growing resistance to the failures of state legislators to provide children with a sound basic education. That education includes adequate and safe facilities, up to date learning materials and highly qualified and well-paid teachers and education support personnel which includes teacher assistants, social workers, psychologists and bus drivers.
In this moment education workers are on the cutting edge of the struggle of public employees and the people of this country to keep our institutions in the public domain and not be offered up to greedy profit seeking corporations who care nothing about our well being and quality of life. Their only concern is the bottom line. This means that bus drivers, sanitation workers, fire fighters, caseworkers and so many more have a common fight.
This fight requires many tactics. Taking to the streets is key to making the others, like voting and lobbying, effective. We cannot outspend the 1%. At the end of the day, withholding our labor is the key device in our toolbox. The teachers realize this and at the same time have been clear on making sure that our children are safe and fed because this fight fundamentally is for our children and our families.
We support these demands (in addition to others) regardless of what political party has control of the legislature:
- Increase per-student spending
- Increase pay for educators with a plan to get to the national average and immediate across the board pay raises for all state employees. Repealing corporate tax breaks can pay for this.
- Increase funding for textbooks, supplies and materials so educators do not have to spend hundreds of dollars of personal funds to do their jobs.
- No performance-based pay but a pay scale that values veteran educators, and provides pay incentives for advanced degrees.
- Increase teacher retiree pensions by 3%; provide state funded health insurance
- Freeze any increases in health care costs for public employees, which require no additional resources from the State. Maintain comprehensive health insurance coverage for all State employees.
- Accept federal funds to expand Medicaid, giving affordable health care to the one-quarter of North Carolina students who live in poverty.
- Stop the attacks on public schools by placing a moratorium on new charter schools and private school vouchers.
- We also demand the repeal of NC General Statute 95-98, which denies public employees the right to collectively bargain for higher wages, better and safer workplaces, and stronger protections against discrimination.
As the parents and grandparents of Black children we call on education workers and unions to join us in the fight to end the “school to prison pipeline”, eliminate the achievement gap, create a historically accurate and anti-racist curriculum and implement restorative justice instead of punitive discipline and remove School Resource Officers (SRO’s).
Education is a Human Right!
All out for May 16th!
All out for the Poor Peoples Campaign!
(Black Workers for Justice*blackworkersforjustice.com)