The Charlotte NOW chapter participated in the Charlotte March for Education held at Marshall Park in uptown Charlotte. Marches for Public Education were held simultaneously across our nation including Washington, DC, on Saturday, July 22, 2017. We had a very enthusiastic group of supporters on a very hot summer day. Melba Evans represented the Charlotte NOW chapter in speaking about many aspects of problems with public education today (like the inequities of education in high poverty neighborhoods) and the devastating effects the Trump DeVos plan will have on all our public schools, colleges and universities.
Evans said, “Today we stand in a very dangerous place. Our public schools are under attack, not by a foreign force, but by our own President and Secretary of Education. The Trump administration’s policies have become synonymous with educational disparity, misguided focus and inhumane cuts to programs and services.”
Evans talked about how Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ plan will hurt children, and also how changes will hurt women specifically. There are
- $700 million in Perkins loans cuts for disadvantaged students, many of whom are single mothers
- the cuts in child care assistance for high poverty students, most of whom are women.
- the expected cuts to after-school programs that serve 1.6 million children, most of whom are poor. These cuts would affect working mothers and especially single working mothers.
- thousands of teachers who will lose their jobs. About 75% of public school educators are women.
Given the gender/ race pay gap after completing college, women and minorities suffer the most when students loans and grants are cut because they have more difficulty repaying loans.
“Women More Likely to Graduate College, but Still Earn Less Than Men,” 10/31/14, says, “The report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers shows that although women are increasingly becoming more educated and make up a larger portion of the country’s workforce, they consistently earn less than men, even when they have similar levels of education.”
Evans reminded people that “Education is not a luxury only for the wealthy, it is a human right and human rights are not optional.”
See a more complete article by Evans at “Whose Schools, Our Schools!”
People gathered under the skyline of Charlotte, in the shadow of the Education Center and near the Statue of Dr. Martin Luther King.
The mission statement for the march was that “our public schools will be safe, inclusive spaces for learning and critical thinking, where all children discover their passion(s) and role(s) as citizens. As members of March for Public Education, we aim to advance policy and recursively address issues of: equity, inclusion, accountability, a well-funded institution, and the right to organize.”