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Friday, August 2, 2013

SOS: Support Our Schools!

Back to school season is just around the corner, but parents in North Carolina have more to worry about this year than buying notebooks and pencils. Public education has come under assault by the North Carolina General Assembly, with a new budget that cuts teachers, aides, textbook funds, and more...all at a time when student enrollment in North Carolina is on the rise.

The North Carolina Association of Educators has a list of The Top 10 Things Every Educator Should Know About the Budget. I would add that every parent should know these things as well, because they will directly impact our children in the classroom. Many have called the NCGA's approach to education a "race to the bottom", because our state is now near the very bottom of the list for both teacher salaries and funding per student.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (CHCCS) are fortunate to have an advantage over other districts because of our special school tax (which the Orange County Commissioners raised after parents flooded their budget hearing asking them to fully fund our schools). But make no mistake: those funds raised by the extra tax are not really "extra" - they just help to fill the gaps in our budget created by the NCGA. This at a time when our district is opening a new elementary school to ease serious overcrowding, working to improve special education, addressing the growing number of students with autism, trying to close the massive achievement gap, and oh yeah, implementing the new Core Curriculum.

Parents and educators "wearing red for ed" to show support for public schools.

The gutting of public education feels personal to me, as it surely does to many families. My husband and I are both the products of good public school educations (in New Jersey and Maryland), and we moved to Chapel Hill expecting the same for our son. It is frightening to watch our public school system be gutted right as our little guy is about to start Kindergarten. Even though CHCCS remains committed to quality education, how are we going to attract and keep the best teachers when they could make more money - and get more respect - teaching elsewhere?

Tell your state representatives that you support public education and you vote!

Hopefully you are now feeling fired up about supporting our schools and are ready to take action! There are many ways that parents and educators can help:

We'll be back next week with another in our series of free back to school printables for special needs students. See you then!

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