The narrative of those who wish to attack #AllOutMay1 is that the organizers are a bunch of far-left radicals. A bunch of crazies who are using children to further political goals.
That attack is patently false. Those of us advocating for #AllOutMay1 cross the political spectrum, we range from left to right. Red to blue. Democrat to Republican. There is no single label that could easily fit the entire spectrum for those of us righting for public education.
The truth of the matter is that this movement for our public schools is a broad fight, a fight for everyone.
Looking at our goals should make that obvious. Let’s revisit them again for a moment.
▪ Providing enough school librarians, psychologists, social workers, counselors, nurses and other health professionals to meet national standards.
▪ Providing a $15 minimum wage for all school personnel, a 5 percent raise for all school employees and a 5 percent cost of living adjustment for retirees.
▪ Expanding Medicaid to improve the health of students and families.
▪ Reinstating state retiree health benefits for teachers who will be hired after 2021.
▪ Restoring extra pay for teachers with advanced degrees such as a master’s degree.
The map above is taken directly from a report put out by the North Carolina Poverty Research Fund. What I found most striking about the map? The higher the percent of people without health insurance, the more rural the county. That right there should disprove the narrative that this is a far-left, urban movement. Expanding Medicaid would actually disproportionately benefit our rural, right-leaning counties. As educators, we know the importance of our students being healthy. Students that are not healthy have a hard time learning. That is why I so strongly believe in expanding Medicaid to my students and their families. My county, Lee County, sees between 16.7-18.2% of our people without health insurance. Translated to my classroom – that’s almost 20 students.
The more urban counties such as Durham, Wake, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg have more resources to use which allows them to provide a bigger supplement for teachers, offer a higher hourly wage for ESPs, and more funding for librarian, school nurses, school counselors, and others. These points that we are fighting for is important because we are fighting for state funding for these issues. Our more rural counties do not have a tax base that would allow for a competition with the urban areas.
Do our urban counties have issues of their own? Sure. However, the issues for #AllOutMay1 are not just an urban agenda. They are an agenda that everyone should be able to support.
This is not a partisan agenda. This is a pro-public education agenda. One that is needed to support all of our students.
Teaching and living in a rural county I understand that this can be scary. Educators, we have to take the leap. If we do not take it now, we will be facing the same problems 15-20 years from now and it will arguably be worse.
Take the leap, you’ll have thousands of people supporting you.