Source: Editorial Staff
For the longest while in North Carolina, K-12 public schools have been on the struggle bus.
Currently the following is happening in our public schools across the state.
In Alamance county, the school year has been delayed for a few weeks because of the discovery of toxigenic mold in many school buildings. Classes are scheduled to begin on September 11th.
In Wake County, four public high schools had to be released early on September 7th because their air conditioning systems were experiencing continued issues. According to a recent CBS 17 article, the Wake County Public School System is not alone in needing HVAC repair.
In a 2020-21 K-12 Facility Needs Report, it showed that HVAC upgrades were the largest need for schools across the state. This survey identified that over a five-year period North Carolina public school systems will need nearly $12.8 billion for new schools, additional buildings, equipment, land for new schools, and renovations.
Also currently, there is an unprecedented shortage of teachers in North Carolina. During the 2022-2023 school year, there were 5,095 vacancies that had never been filled. This number continues to grow as we enter another school year. Since teachers are not being paid competitive salaries, many are leaving the state or the public school system to secure better paying jobs.
To make matters worse, the Republican-controlled General Assembly has yet to approve a budget. Without an approved budget, public schools will not be getting any more funding anytime soon. With no new funding from the General Assembly, our public school systems can not properly invest in improving the infrastructure of school buildings for our students and faculty, and can not afford to increase the pay for teachers. Therefore, our public schools are quite screwed at the moment.
So what do we do about this misfortune that is taking place in our public schools?
Start financially backing and supporting charter schools? NO!
We start fighting for our public schools. And this coalition is doing just that.
Throughout the summer, the H.E.A.L (Honest Education Action & Leadership) Together NC coalition has been working to protect public school students and the schools they attend. This coalition is composed of the Education Justice Alliance, CREED (Center for Racial Equity in Education), and Down Home North Carolina, who have come together to fight for public schools across the state.
Through this coalition, the Public School Strong initiative was born. The goal of this initiative is to get parents, students, teachers, and community members involved at school board meetings in all 100 North Carolina counties. Right now, they are in 40 counties and counting.
Quite impressive, right?
Here is the list to see where there are current Public School Strong teams, and where the coalition needs help with building. If you want to be a part of this initiative, reach out to Isabell at email@example.com. They would love your help!
Remember, in order to make change happen, you gotta be a part of it. Let’s fight for our public schools!