Education is political. It makes up around half of North Carolina’s budget.
Education is also personal. I am a veteran teacher and a mother of two children who will pass through NC public schools. I am not just fighting for my students and my own career, but also for the future education experience of my own children.
By the time they graduate high school, will many of their classes take place in trailers instead of brick and mortar classrooms because NC fiscal policy incentivizes population growth but fails to address the $8 billion (and growing) infrastructure needs across NC public schools?
How much longer will it take to return per pupil expenditure to pre-recession levels? Why isn’t NC’s economic growth trickling down to meeting the needs of the next generation?
Will their classrooms be dominated by less experienced teachers, or veterans with one foot out the door knowing NC no longer wants them after 15 years of service?
Look at the salary schedule and recognize this possibility.
Will the philosophy of having qualified teachers with reasonable class sizes become as outdated as the less-than-class-set of textbooks in my classroom?
Will this philosophy be fully replaced by the notion that software can replace teachers and by default, class sizes won’t matter as long as each student has technology?
Will we disregard developing social skills and focus only on test-taking ability?
This is not the Twilight Zone. This is NC in 2019 and we have a lot of work to do leading into 2020 to turn the tide away from seeing students as widgets and data and return to seeing them as future citizens and workers.
This Thanksgiving look at the children around your table and your community. Initiate a conversation about education policy and the future of schools. Talk to teachers and listen to what they say.
Maybe you’ll start to realize that discussing the future of education is personal for you as well. We can’t do it without you.