Many schools across North Carolina staged something called a walk-in Monday. It was in lieu of a one-day strike that some teachers had been contemplating to protest stagnant wages, elimination of tenure, and an increase in standardized testing.
Several weeks ago, Superintendent of Iredell-Statesville Schools Brady Johnson got wind that a teacher walk-out was in the works. So he suggested an alternative.
“Let’s just open the doors to our 36 schools today and invite the community to come in and see the great things that are happening in the schools in this community,” said Johnson.
Several other schools and the North Carolina Association of Educators adopted the same approach. Monday morning Johnson greeted about thirty parents and the mayor of Mooresville at Mount Mourne IB school. He told them he urged principals not to shy away from making schools’ needs known to visitors.
“Make sure you take those folks to some of your classrooms that need to be painted. Make sure they go out back and visit the trailers. Make sure they talk to your media coordinator about the lack of books for the collection here. Show them the lack of technology that you’ve got in your schools,” said Johnson.
The school’s principal Boen Nutting told parents the past few years have been especially hard on teachers whose pay has pretty much stayed the same.
“We’re at a crossroads and I feel like as a principal and someone who has been in public education for more than 20 years, I feel like, I’m fighting a hard fight,” said Nutting.
She got a standing ovation from parents.
At several CMS schools parents showed up with signs to support teachers and push for more education funding. Maria Dorn has a child at Shamrock Gardens Elementary.
“They’re losing all the benefits there are to teaching. And if we can hold them here, I think, that’s better for us and for them. Just because if they have to take a cut somewhere at least we can show them how much they’re loved somewhere else,” said Dorn.
A few dozen teachers did take the day off to protest in Raleigh.