Saturday, December 29, 2018

Change the Story

There is an often told story embedded in the policies and public statements of Virginia about teachers and employees of schools; so embedded that many people act as though it is true.
It goes something like this.
Virginia is not like “those other” states.
Things may be hard here, but they are not so bad for you individually. After all you are surviving even if barely.  

As an educator or employee you cannot make a difference by speaking up or taking action,
and if you try there will be retribution.
It is selfish to ask for more money.
It will hurt your school, and your students, if you dare to speak up publicly, about the 
punishing policies, the work over loads, the crumbling building or unsafe trailer, or the lack 
of resources.
It is greedy to ask for more money, your neighbors “give” you your salary. You cannot ask them to
            “give” you more.  

What if you knew there is a different set of facts that tell a very different story?
 In reality-
                Virginia’s funding for schools is even worse than many of those “other states” And localities have to fight most years to figure out whether to cut services or raise taxes because the state doesn’t fulfill its constitutional responsibility to provide adequate schools.

                In Virginia educators are paid $9000+ below the national average, even though the cost of living here and income of other professions is above the national average.  Quite simply, Educators in Virginia are not paid competitive or comparable wages for the work they do. And general schools employees are not paid a living wage.

                Even the increase in funding the Governor recently proposed (which some in the legislature have pledged to defeat) won’t get school funding to national averages- if we can get it passed. It will take two more budget cycles of larger increases to get close to restoring funding to 2008 levels.
But here is the really important part
What you do can change everything.
Your actions can make the difference.

In states where educators and employees have banded together salaries become higher, class sizes grow smaller making lighter work loads, and there are protections from the retributions we fear.

Make it Personal- Simply by Taking A Day
January 28, 2019
At 11:00 a.m.
March in RedforEd
From Monroe Park
to the steps of the State Capitol
with your colleagues and parents from your community
to tell them our schools are in distress and must be fully funded.
There are 120,000 educators and employees in Virginia’s public schools.  If even one fourth of us show up at the Capitol demanding fair and equitable school funding, it will be historic.  If half of us March, Richmond cannot hold the size and power of the message.  If we all come, no one can deny us.
March for your School!
                March for your Colleagues!
March for Your professional dignity!
March for your Students’ futures!