As multiple unpopular bills attacking public education move through our state house, parents are fed up with the gross divestment and the right-wing attacks on schools are organizing.
In just a month since its launch, a new statewide effort called Public School Strong, a project of the HEAL Together NC coalition, already has volunteer on-the-ground teams in nearly thirty counties, outpacing their oppositional counterparts at Moms for Liberty. just two weeks ago, 12 North Carolina Moms for Liberty chapters were put on Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hate Map and Public School Strong teams are serving as a counterbalance to their extremism, answering the call for homegrown advocacy in defense of public education.
You can read more about our work here in North Carolina in this Washington Post article that was just released.
Public School Strong parents are attending their local school board meetings, sometimes to speak out in support of teachers, students, and public education and other times to document what is being discussed, what is on the agenda, and what is being voted on.
Data from the first month of our project is already compelling:
- With 16 teams reporting six reported the presence of far-right extremists also attending the meeting.
- 40% of reporting teams say that hot button culture war issues such as Social Emotional Learning were being brought up
- 40% of reporting teams say that book bans were being discussed
- 66% of teams report that LGBTQIA+ issues were being debated.
Public School Strong volunteers are moms and dads, grandparents, teachers and even students themselves. They are already attending school board meetings from the mountains all the way to the coast– and people interested in this project continue to flood in for our next training (Individuals from 18 new counties have registered for our June training). This doesn’t surprise us – studies show that the vast majority of North Carolina parents love and support their local schools and disagree with the “outrage agenda” of the right.
What does matter to local parents?
- A recent High Point University Poll shows that NC parents are concerned about school safety and teacher pay,
- Large majorities (more than 8 in 10) oppose book bans nationally, including more than half of Republicans
- 62% of North Caolinians think that schools are underfunded
We have parents and educators, as well as organizers, all across the state in 30 counties prepared to share why they are doing this work and what they are observing on the ground in their communities.
Public School Strong is a project of Heal Together NC– a coalition of parents, teachers, school employees, students, and organizations committed to strengthening our public schools. Down Home North Carolina is a statewide rural advocacy organization and is an anchor to Public School Strong and Heal Together NC.
Want to get involved? Find the next Public School Strong training here: https://www.mobilize.us/downhomenc/