Are Parents Being Silenced in Education Debate?

RALEIGH – Here we are one week after the May 1 Teacher Strike. What have we figured out about the Red-for-Ed strikers and their comrades? We haven’t heard much from parents, or how this strike impacted their families. Last week I posed a question on Facebook: Parents, how are you dealing with unexpected school cancellations for May 1, and how is it affecting you?

In reaction to this simple question, people came out of the virtual woodwork on Facebook to chastise me. A few charters cancelled as late as the week before the strike. I received approximately 300 negative comments. It was a little shocking how disrespectful people were all because I wanted to hear from parents.

I founded #PurpleforParentsNC because their voices deserve to be heard, especially now as political forces are affecting their children’s education so directly.

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A cursory search for parent advocacy groups online will lead you to some other organizations but they seem more concerned with following dominant political currents than actually advocating for students and families.

One of them I found is NCFamiliesUnited.Org. I contacted them preceding the May Day teacher protest to ask how they’re advocating for parents approaching the upcoming event which was sure to cause closures. The receptionist Renee seemed puzzled as to why I would suggest they offer daycare for their clients in the community with school being closed in the middle of the week. I was puzzled too. How do they advocate? As the call went on, I learned their clients had very specific needs. The website states the agency Mission is as follows:

NC Families United supports and unites the voices of children, youth, and families with mental health concerns to educate, support and advocate for improved services and lives.

Renee then put Stacy on the line. Stacy seems receptive and agrees to issue a statement to the press regarding the impacts of missing school, telling me all clients are mentally challenged. I realized it would be disruptive to normal routines to drop in at a random childcare provider, since the clients have unique health needs.

Suddenly, a Mrs. Gail M. Cormier walks by and vivaciously blurts that she is the Executive Director and is, “very familiar with the May 1 march.” She adds, “My husband is a very progressive Democrat, who is leading a group that day!

Well, good for him. How about those kids? I asked Mrs. Cormier, “Could you put your politics aside and tell me how the agency will advocate for clientele?” She left the room. Stacy agreed to a press release, but within minutes, Mrs. Cormier wrote back to say that, after careful consideration, they would not being issuing a public statement in opposition to the strike.

Of course, I never asked about opposing a strike; I asked about helping people, and adding a new perspective to the narrative. It is interesting, however, that she referred to what has been marketed as a teacher rally as a ‘strike.’ The story is clear: NC Association of Educators, or NCAE teachers union, including affiliates like Red-for-Ed, have trampled on parents. Unfortunately for any free thinker in opposition, the only perspective is through the lens of the Left-leaning media. We cannot accept this. We must bear witness to the realities as they unfold.

I attended the strike this year and on the day before, I encouraged every legislator I could find to come visit me outside to snap a “selfie.” I said, I’ll be the one holding the sign which reads, “#OptOut of NCAE.”

Photo by James Piedad

Before we knew it, red flanked the exterior of the Legislative Building and was coming right toward us! There was even a tuba player. A fellow GRNC member offered us an amplified sound device and I told the crowd, “We love teachers! We don’t love how the NCAE is using you!! You pay $500 per year  and they’re telling you to vote democrat! It’s time for you to cut ties! Opt out!

I gave three face to face interviews that morning; one with the Raleigh News & Observer, Spectrum and ABC11. I’ve yet to see one  of these interviews broadcast, further demonstrating the media’s bias toward Democrats agitations. I am a parent and I was silenced. I don’t appreciate that. As a result, we parents must build our own platform to make sure our voices are heard.

If you have a voice and are not afraid to use it, please contact #PurpleforParentsNC. You can connect with us on Facebook at #PurpleforParentsNC or Twitter @P4PNC.

We must build a grassroots movement to defeat this mob of Leftists purporting to represent kids and education. Red-for-Ed groups aren’t good for North Carolina, our kids, or our teachers. They will keep at it until they achieve their transparent goal of flipping the state to a permanent shade of blue.

Parents must start attending government meetings in their communities, watch board meetings by going in person, or to the website, or even reading the meeting minutes. You might be surprised what you hear. Be sure to share your knowledge with your neighbors and network. All politics is local, so get information on municipal candidates now, so your friends can come to you for wisdom. We must unify in order to effectively distribute the alternate perspectives that the Left and their friends in the media actively suppress. I have to agree with Jennifer Lopez as she sang in her song, “Let’s Get Loud.”

We, as parents, must get loud for our kids and #PurpleforParentsNC wants to help amplify your voice.

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