On Wednesday thousands of educators and education activists marched on Raleigh asking for state investment in common sense education needs. I marched with them because I believe our children and our teachers deserve better.
Our children’s futures are suffering because of the Republicans’ inverted priorities. For years, Republican legislators have cut funding to basic education needs – like teachers and classroom resources – in favor of tax breaks to millionaires and big corporations.
It’s about more than teacher pay. These educators marched to help our children.
They had 5 simple policy requests:
- Provide enough school librarians, psychologists, social workers, counselors, nurses, and other health professionals to meet national standards to help address things like substance abuse problems and school safety. Currently, there’s one psychologist for every 2,100 students.
- Provide a $15 minimum wage for all school personnel, 5% raise for all support staff, teachers, admins, and a 5% cost of living adjustment for retirees.
- Expand Medicaid to improve the health of our students and families. A quarter of North Carolina public school students live in poverty. With no increase in state taxes, more than 500,000 North Carolinians could have access to quality, affordable healthcare.
- Reinstate state retirement health benefits that were eliminated in 2017 for any new educators hired after 2020.
- Restore advanced degree compensation that was eliminated in 2013 and led to teacher flight.
I plan to do everything I can to make that list a reality. In fact, several bills I’ve sponsored address these issues. But the Republicans believe these common sense requests are too much to ask for.
Together, we’re making public education a real priority in North Carolina,
Senator, District 16