Schools host ‘walk-in’ day to show officials, community why education matters

Schools in the Rowan-Salisbury system opened their doors to visitors today, giving them an inside look at a day in the life of educators and their students.

The “walk-in” day was organized to counter a statewide effort to get teachers to call in sick or take a personal day today in protest of teacher pay and working conditions.

Local teachers say they’re frustrated too — with five years of stagnant pay and legislation passed in Raleigh this year that they see as anti-education — but they didn’t consider taking the day off to prove it.

“For us, it wasn’t about walking out. We love our kids, we love our school,” said teacher Stacey White, who helped organize the walk-in day at West Rowan High School. “My overall hope is that the community sees what really is going on in education, what we see every day.”

At West Rowan High, students led tours through the halls and classrooms. About two dozen observers throughout the two-hour event got to see what students are learning, and how teachers are working to ensure they succeed.

Jake Kennedy, student body president at West Rowan, said about 150 students volunteered to help with the walk-in day.

“Our students respect our teachers. We love our teachers,” he said. “We know what they go through and want to support them.”

Among those who toured West Rowan High was N.C. Rep. Harry Warren, a Republican from Rowan County. Warren said he was impressed with what he saw at the school and acknowledged that “it’s been a very frustrating six-year period for teachers and for education in general.”

“There’s absolutely no doubt that teacher compensation needs to be improved, but ... many positive changes are being made in public education that are not being communicated effectively to the public in general, and specifically to those in education,” he said.

Read more in Tuesday’s Salisbury Post.

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