DAE Statement on McDougald Terrace

The Durham Association of Educators stands in support and solidarity with the residents of our city’s McDougald Terrace community, whose lives and well-being are fundamentally intertwined with our lives and well-being.
We recognize the strength, resilience, and power of the persons and families who pulled together instead of apart in order to organize and problem-solve, while themselves in the midst of uprooting and grief.
We condemn the historic two-pronged tactic of defunding and privatization that is the root cause of this humanitarian crisis.
The present living conditions of McDougald Terrace are appalling, and inexcusable.
Low-quality building materials, inadequate repairs, and insufficient maintenance produced leaks, mold, pests, clogged sewage, malfunctioning heating and air units, and carbon monoxide exposure.
We know that no amount of administrative skill can make up for the enormous federal funding gaps. Full public housing funding would allow for proper and timely outfitting, necessary updates, or redevelopment of these homes.
Our students and their families deserve decent, beautiful, safe, and affordable housing that is fit to sustain and promote the healthy and happy lives they have the right to.
We have experienced related neglect in our schools. A decade of continuously slashed public education budgets in North Carolina has led to insufficient materials, inadequate repairs, and negligible updates in our classrooms, on our playgrounds, and in our cafeterias.
We know that no amount of administrative skill can make up for the enormous state funding gaps. Full education funding would allow for proper staffing, maintenance, and materials in our school buildings.
Our students and coworkers deserve well-resourced and well-staffed learning spaces fit for the healthy and harmonious intellectual, social, and physical growth they have the potential for.
But neither public schools nor public housing crises are the effects of natural disasters. They are carefully constructed economic schemes meant to shake people’s trust in public services, and turn people into profits for the growing benefit of wealthy privatizers.
In both cases, a history of austerity budgets has forced all of us to do more with less, while a narrative that publicly shames us for failing to meet standards has effectively reduced necessary staff, and lowered morale.
This is the most powerful deception: that creativity and collaboration are adequate replacements for proper funding, and that the reason we struggle is because of our inability to be appropriately ingenious team-players.
We reject this narrative because it is both false and harmful.
Instead, we propose that together we can build our collective power, and reclaim our children’s futures.
Together we can defeat austerity and privatization, and build stable, and harmonious communities where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.
We believe that our schools are the centers of our communities, and our students’ lives are the centers of our schools.
What our children feel in McDougald Terrace is what they feel at Oak Grove, Pearsontown, Burton, W.G. Pearson, Glenn, Bethesda, Eastway, Hillandale, Y.E. Smith, RN Harris, Shepard, Lowe’s Grove, Rogers Herr, Southern, Jordan, Northern, and Hillside.
Our kids are all of ours everywhere.
We stand in solidarity, support and service with our students and their parents, and will continue investing tirelessly in our Durham community through our work, both in and out of the classroom, every day.
Durham Association of Educators

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