Just a reminder that this weekend is jam packed with awesome events for YOI. Today, Friday December 6 and tomorrow, December 7, YOI is holding its Winter Training! We’re excited to meet all of the participants and hope to see you there.
Tomorrow, December 7, YOI is holding its First Annual Ella Baker Gala at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh. Tickets are still available, so purchase yours here if you haven’t already. The night will include dinner, speakers, performances, an awards ceremony, raffles and a silent auction. Please come out to show your support!
Thanks to everyone who plans to come out this weekend. We’re sure it will be a lot of fun and can’t wait to spend the weekend with you all.
On Monday, November 4, teachers across North Carolina led “walk-ins” to protest the General Assembly’s savage cuts to education this past legislative session, opting to show up for their students—wearing red for public education, greeting them as they entered school buildings, and holding rallies and speak-outs against the cuts—rather than walking out. NC HEAT, or Heroes Emerging Amongst Teens, encouraged students to show support for their teachers by attending walk-in rallies, wearing red to school and giving their teachers apples as statements of solidarity. NC HEAT members also showed up early to distribute literature about the plight of public education at three high schools where teacher actions had been squashed by administration. NC HEAT leaders Markyona and Jennifer co-wrote this statement of solidarity with teachers, which was distributed to high school teachers around the Triangle area:
North Carolina Heroes Emerging Among Teens (NC HEAT) recognizes the struggles of North Carolina teachers and students to be intertwined. We recognize that education based on harm reduction and restorative justice are contingent upon meaningful investment in educators and student support staff. As students in North Carolina, we can personally see and feel the impacts that our state’s policies towards teachers are having. Our class sizes are growing, our classroom resources are slowly diminishing, and just as these issues are impacting us as students, they are also hurting the very teachers who are dedicated to helping us get the most out of our educations and succeed.
Teachers in North Carolina are significantly underpaid in relation to teacher salaries across the rest of the nation. Having the 4th lowest average teacher salary in the United States, $10,000 less than the national average, North Carolina is losing the valuable teachers that school systems need to successfully educate students. Teachers should not be forced to work separate part-time jobs in order to make ends meet. When talented and dedicated teachers are relocating to other states with higher salaries, students in North Carolina are being put at a disadvantage.
From a young age, teachers are a vital influence on the lives of students and when the proper resources are not being provided in the classroom, this influence can become lessened. Especially within younger grades, teacher assistants are particularly critical in the classroom. Students need as much one-on-one attention as they can get, and without these teaching assistant positions, this attention becomes significantly harder to come by.
NC HEAT demands that teachers be paid adequately for the work that they do, that class sizes be reduced, and that paid teacher assistants and other support staff be hired. We encourage students across North Carolina to participate in walk-ins across the state in protest of current policies, and give their teachers an apple on November 4th in an act of solidarity.
The Youth Organizing Institute, the Education Justice Alliance and NC HEAT will join over 50 organizations in more than 20 states to demand that our school systems adopt positive approaches to addressing behavior problems. Zero tolerance discipline policies, school police or armed guards, and other punitive practices have been found to result in much higher suspension and expulsion rates, often for minor misbehavior, fueling a “School-to-Prison Pipeline.”
The week will launch a campaign to put a moratorium, a temporary pause, on level one out of school suspensions in Wake County. In the 2011-2012 school year, over 14,000 students in Wake County were suspended from school. Students of color, economically disadvantaged students and students with disabilities were suspended at disproportionately high rates. in Wake County where black students receive over 60% of suspensions but make up less than 25% of the school population.
This campaign asks that during the pause administrators and community members study and recommend alternatives to suspensions that implement research-based restorative justice practices.
WEEK OF ACTION EVENT LIST
WHAT: NC HEAT marches in Durham Pride to oppose criminalization of LGBTQ Youh
WHEN: September 28, 12:00PM
WHERE: Duke East Campus
WHAT: Press Conference to Launch Campaign for Pause in Suspensions
WHEN: October 1, 2013 5:00PM
WHERE: In front of the WCPSS administrative building (5625 Dillard Dr, Cary NC 27518)
WHAT: Youth-led End the School-to-Prison Pipeline March to Central Prison
RSVP and share our facebook event
WHEN: October 4, 4:00PM-6:30PM
WHERE: The march begins at Washington Elementary School (1000 Fayetteville St, Raleigh, NC 27601) and ends at Central Prison (1300 Western Blvd).
**Watch this video, created by NC HEAT member Q Wideman about last years march.
This September, NC HEAT members attended a series of candidate forums for aspiring Wake County school board members and posed questions around discipline issues and youth voice and engagement in education policy issues. These questions were also emailed to the candidates who had 10 days to respond.
Four of the eight candidates went on record, answering the questions the youth posed.
Their answers can be found on this pdf flier, which is a compilation of their responses
Sept 10, 2013: Wake School Board Candidate Forum in Cary, NC
As part of Dignity in School’s National Week of Action Against School Pushout, NC HEAT (Heroes Emerging Among Teens) and the Youth Organizing Institute are calling for a MARCH & SPEAK-OUT against the School-to-Prison pipeline.
This is the Second Annual march, led by NC HEAT members.
The march will start with a speak out at Washington Elementary in Raleigh (1000 Fayetteville St.) and proceed to Central Prison for a demonstration with music, drums and raised voices!
Bring friends, signs and noisemakers, and WEAR YOUR BACKPACKS! Show up to push back against school pushouts!
On September 21, members of YOI, NCHEAT and the Education Justice Alliance met to discuss our plans for the upcoming year. In particular, we planned out the upcoming Week of Action, part of Dignity in School’s National Week of Action Against School Pushout. The Week of Action will take place from September 28 through October 5. NCHEAT will start out the week by marching at NC Pride in Durham on September 28. On October 1, there will be a press conference to announce YOI, NCHEAT and EJA’s campaign for a moratorium on out-of-state suspensions, taking place immediately before a Wake County School Board meeting at which students and parents will speak out against the crisis of suspensions in Wake County. On October 4, NCHEAT will lead Push Back Against Push Out, a youth-led march against school pushout and the prison-industrial-complex. YOI and NCHEAT members planned out costumes, speeches and chants in preparation.
Get excited! More info on the Week of Action will be announced soon.
Sept 10, 2013: NC HEAT members line up to ask questions at Wake School Board Candidate Forum in Cary, NC
On Monday, September 9, seven NC HEAT members attended the Cary Candidate forum located at Covenant Christian church, to ask perspective school board members the questions about the epidemic of suspensions and racial disparities in school discipline practices. NC HEAT members used data-driven research to generate thought-provoking questions to encourage candidates to discuss their vision for how to address the school-to-prison pipeline in Wake County.
NC HEAT members highlighted that data shows that youth of color and disabled youth are suspended and pushed out of public schools at a rates alarmingly higher than their white, non-special needs counterparts. Perspective candidates Nancy Caggia and Bill Fetcher seemed unable or unprepared to adequately address these policies issues. Both candidates stated that they would not support a Moratorium on Out-of-School Suspensions. After hearing the research and questions presented by NC HEAT members, NC HEAT hopes that the candidates will consider working more closely with students and communities to solve our school discipline crisis and create policies that treat every student, regardless of race, gender, gender presentation, ability, or sexual orientation with dignity.