Thousands of public school employees and supporters fill the lawn in front of the NCGA.
Thousands of public school employees and supporters fill the lawn in front of the NCGA.

Yesterday was huge.

Thousands of public school educators, bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers, social workers, counselors, coaches and other support staff – along with their supporters – flooded the streets of Raleigh. Again.

But we didn’t just show up today. We organized. We held our legislators accountable and put them on record about their stance on public education. We met together with our neighbors in county conversations and made concrete plans to continue this work until we win the schools our communities deserve.

And we are already winning.

Tuesday, before so many of us descended on the state capital, Republican leadership in the NCGA announced a plan to give lopsided pay raises to public school employees. But what they don’t know is that we’re in this together. We won’t accept a proposal intended to divide us.

We are united on the 5 Priorities the North Carolina Association of Educators adopted at our convention in March:

  • Provide enough school librarians, psychologists, social workers, counselors, nurses, and other health professionals to meet national professional-to-student standards;
  • Provide $15 minimum wage for all school personnel, 5% raise for all ESPs (non-certified staff), teachers, administrators, and a 5% cost of living adjustment for retirees;
  • Expand Medicaid to improve the health of our students and families;
  • Reinstate state retiree health benefits eliminated by the General Assembly in 2017;
  • Restore advanced degree compensation stripped by the General Assembly in 2013.

So, what’s next after yesterday’s #AllOutMay1 action?

First – Please fill out our brief survey to tell us about your #AllOutMay1 day. What did you do? Who did you meet? What was one powerful, meaningful moment that you’ll take back to your school district?

Second – If you are not a member of the North Carolina Association of Educators, we need you to join right now. We know from two years of mass mobilization actions that we have strength in numbers. NCAE is our organization and it’s our voice. We need you with us.

Third – NCAE’s Organize 2020 Racial & Social Justice Caucus is working hard in every school district to bring people into NCAE and orient us toward the fight for public schools. You already signed up for this struggle – we need you to bring your co-workers, your friends and your family. Send your folks to organize2020.org and encourage them to join our communications list so they can get in the loop on our work.

Fourth – This work takes time and resources y’all. Over the past month dozens of Organize 2020 volunteers have worked hard with NCAE leadership to pull this event together. Please consider donating to our work as NCAE’s Racial & Social Justice Caucus.

We are so proud of you all, and ourselves, today. We will not be intimidated into silence by politicians and special interests focused on undermining our public schools.

We are together. We are united. We are organized.

Tamika Walker Kelly, NCAE Region 6 Director
Bryan Proffitt, Durham Association of Educators President