This teacher in North Carolina has an invitation for the
legislators cutting the schools’ budget and the pundits who applaud
them: Walk
in our shoes.


She writes: “I’d like to put out a call to
every politician who had a hand in passing NC’s new budget. To
every policy maker who thinks this is a good (or even just
acceptable) idea.


To every parent forsaking public education.


To every taxpayer lamenting the “waste” of money that our schools are
in their minds. I’d like to challenge you to walk a day in our


“Walk the halls in the scuffed up loafers of the high school
teacher who has been required to write his own textbook, because
there’s no money to buy them. “Sit on the carpet in the polka
dotted flats of the 2nd grade teacher tasked with teaching 25
students all day with no teacher assistant. Oh, and did I mention
that 4 are gifted, 5 have disabilities, 8 speak English as a second
language, and 15 live in poverty?


“Follow a child with behavioral
problems down the hallway in the well-worn Keds of the special ed
teacher who fights for appropriate services for her students,
because the law says they are entitled to a “free and appropriate
public education,” but the people with the money just keep saying
they can’t fund what she needs.


“Conduct awhile in the shiny black
shoes of the band teacher purchasing sheet music and instrument
repairs with his own paycheck. “Clean the green slime off of the
Sperrys of the middle school teacher who has to stop his after
school science club because there are no funds for materials.


“Walk out the door at 6pm in the sandals of the third year teacher, still
bright-eyed and hopeful that her 55 hour week makes a difference.
Then, kick them off as she sits down for two hours of research and
paper-writing, diligently putting in the work to earn an advanced
degree that will no longer provide her any hope of increasing her
$32,000 salary.


“Please, come find us. Come walk in our shoes. See
what you’ve left us with, and let’s see if YOU can ensure that
every third grader can read, that every student graduates high
school college and career ready. Because we can’t. And we aren’t a
group of people that often admit there’s something we can’t do.


We can cause light bulbs to turn on inside little minds. We can inspire a
love of historical facts. We can make any math concept relevant to
real life. We can love a child who doesn’t know what that feels
like, and we can show them that they can learn.


But to do all of this without sufficient funds, sufficient staff, and, most of all,
sufficient appreciation and respect, is simply becoming too tall of
an order.


So you give it a try. Then let’s talk.”