GREENSBORO, N.C. - Frustrations about larger class sizes, low salaries and sparse pay raises prompted a group of teachers in our state to turn to social media to organize a walk-out.
But, now that event has become a "walk-in." Walking out, as originally planned, is against North Carolina law.
"The legislators that passed this budget, that voted for the budget, need to know that it's not just educators that are angry and educators that are frustrated. Communities are frustrated. Our parents are frustrated. Our students are frustrated," Amy Harrison, a representative of the Guilford County Chapter of the North Carolina Association of Educators said.
The "Walk-in" Day is Monday, November 4, 2013. Every school district is treating it differently. In Guilford County, the district is inviting parents, community members and lawmakers to visit schools Monday morning. Teachers will remain in their classrooms.
"I think teachers are frustrated with having to do more with less year after year after year. We're just trying to put something together where we can tell teachers...You don't have to walk out for your voice to be heard," Guilford County Schools Principal Jamie King said.
The district says all the safety policies that are usually in place for visitors at schools are not changing for this event.
The North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) supports the effort and is encouraging teachers and schools to participate all over the state.
NCAE president Rodney Ellis emailed WFMY News 2 the following statement:
The idea behind the "Walk-In" is to have parents, community members and elected officials gather at their local schools and have meaningful conversation about the challenges and successes we are experiencing in our schools. We believe that schools, students and educators succeed when stakeholders have input in the decision making process and the "Walk-In" provides the opportunity to have those conversations.
The NCAE supports the Walk-In because we believe it is a positive alternative to the initially proposed "walk-out". We respect the fact that educators are frustrated and motivated to take collective action but we felt there are other ways to get our message across. Inviting parents and law-makers to "walk in", is a much more positive approach and has been well received by school administrators across the state.
No, this is not an attempt to bring politics into our schools despite the fact that politics govern our schools. We are simply trying to identify ways we can address the concerns of educators, parents and elected officials regarding student achievement in NC. We believe students need resources, parental support, professional educators in the classroom and a commitment from lawmakers to provide them.
A Raleigh event could pull teachers out of the classroom. Senator Phil Berger has criticized the idea saying, "Schools have a duty to educate and protect our children, not serve as marching grounds for political protests orchestrated by unions."
Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools is having a similar walk-in event in November, during American Education Week. Alamance Burlington School System is inviting people to wear red to show support for teachers on Monday, like districts across the state.