Educators aren’t unique in struggling economically. We aren’t the only ones who don’t have enough time to take care of ourselves or our families well enough. We certainly aren’t the only ones without the healthcare we all deserve.
But we do sacrifice a lot. A lot of the time, we’re glad to take it on. We understood, when we signed up, that we’d have to sacrifice if we wanted to do it well. And we desperately want to do it well. We love your kids, often like, or more than, our own. For some of us, they are our only kids. The stakes are so high. We’re like soldiers in a war for the futures of your kids, our community, and the planet.
Those really are the stakes y’all. And we feel it every day. Go check out an educator Happy Hour on a Friday, then tell me it doesn’t sound like soldiers back on R&R from the front.
Now, all over the country, those soldiers are asserting that in return for fighting that war, we should be treated with respect. The state shouldn’t be able to take away our due process rights, or budget cut our co-workers away from us, or pay us less than they did 10 years ago, or remove master’s pay incentives to improve in our craft, or make us pay more for worse health care insurance, or put our school leaders on a pay for performance treadmill, or fill our classrooms with more desks while emptying them of books. We are the ones who teach everybody’s kids to read. You know?
The state shouldn’t be able to deny our families free health care through the expansion of Medicaid. Or bleed the lifeblood from our systems through rampant charter expansion and voucher schemes. The state shouldn’t sit back and watch our buildings crumble and create nightmarish scenarios like what we saw in the wake of last month’s tornado in Guilford County. Those kids would be dead y’all. If that tornado had come earlier or later, those kids would be dead. Our kids. Your kids. And the educators that work with them. We’d be dead too. All of this while we’re fighting with and for your kids every day.
The state could have money for all of these basic things, and more, if they’d stop handing it off to wealthy people and corporations who really have enough already.
We think one job should be enough for everybody. And we think that people should be able to give their families the things that they need, spend time with them, take care of themselves, and have meaningful work. We wake up early and stay up late working towards that world every day. And we try our best to help your kids live with dignity and joy and the skills that they need to thrive. Sometimes we don’t do as well as we so badly want to. Turns out, it isn’t easy.
It also isn’t easy, turns out, to be in a family with one of us. Ask someone what it’s like to live with an educator sometime. Our families carry a burden for us every day. They carry a burden for our whole community every day.
We don’t want that much. We want everything that we need to thrive and be happy. And we want it for you too. And especially your kids. We’re pretty partial to them.
That’s why why roughly 1000 educators in Durham have agreed to pay $50 and use a hard earned personal day to go to Raleigh to greet the general assembly on May 16. Our co-workers across the state are doing the same. This is just the beginning. It’s personal for us. Your kids. Our kids. Your families. Our families.
In this together.
We need y’all on this one. Our educator organizers are scrambling to:
- Organize transportation plans, buses, and vans to get as many people to Raleigh as we can.
- Get as many “In This Together” shirts walking around town as we can
- Gather money and supplies and commitments to deliver food to send our students home with supplies on Tuesday, May 15. Or maybe you want to open your community center or restaurant to offer free or discounted meals.
- Identify community and faith partners who might open their doors to students on May 16, offer enrichment programming, or serve as a volunteer hub for any activities happening around town
More centralized plans are in the works, but for now, if you’d like to offer any support, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org