by Val Young
President of the Forsyth County Association of Educators
My Dream of Great Public Education
My dream of a great public education would be schools led by highly qualified principals. Full of qualified wrap-around service professionals like nurses, social workers, psychologists, and school counselors working to support emotionally healthy students in small class size rooms led by highly qualified teachers and instructional assistants. Schools that are fully funded and ready to meet all the needs of students, families, and staff.
How do we get there? We must increase funding for our schools.
It is North Carolina’s duty to provide a sound basic education for all citizens, but a sound basic education is not enough for our students. We need funding that will support the genius that lies in our students.
As an educator, I want the best for everyone that steps foot in a school building, especially our students. I used to think that we could just fix things or change things by just doing it. But now I know better.
What could be the barrier to a quality public school for all students? Funding. A vision for a great public school for all our students starts with proper funding and proper use of said funds. In 1994 in Hoke County, a case was filed by a parent on behalf of her child that is known as the Leandro case. Five counties were on the original case: Hoke, Halifax, Robeson, Cumberland, and Vance Counties. Later Asheville, Buncombe, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Durham Public Schools, Wake, and Winston Salem/Forsyth County were added as plaintiffs. The case states that few students were receiving an education that met the minimum state standards in poorer areas. Students in these poor areas are in buildings that are run down and sick. Schools in these low-wealth areas cannot compete with high-wealth districts to hire highly qualified staff. Students with special needs are not receiving needed services.
The 1.7 billion dollars from the Leandro plan would increase funding for classroom teachers, CTE teachers, teacher assistants, principals, assistant principals, instructional support, children with disabilities, and at-risk programs. The release of the funds will move us closer to having a great well-funded public school for all students in low-wealth areas.
For more information or to get involved with FCAE, visit their website.