After reading one teacher's open letter to legislators, Marie Calabro, a fourth-grade teacher at Beverly Woods Elementary, came up with her own plan to keep educators' plight in legislators' minds: Walk to the Sidewalk Wednesdays.
Like many other educators, Calabro is dismayed by the state's falling national ranking for teacher pay and by changes such as eliminating tenure and extra pay for advanced degrees. Like many, she thought about staging a walk-out from work. But organizing a walk-out in a right-to-work state isn't a smart career move. So she decided to follow Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools colleague Justin Ashley's approach to helping legislators see teachers as respectful and respectable neighbors.
"We will not be protesting during school hours or on school property," she said. "We will not be screaming or yelling. We will be peaceful, hold signs, and stand firm in our belief that North Carolina can be, once again, at the top of the list for student achievement as well as teacher and parent satisfaction."
It's not a highly organized event. Calabro encourages others who want to take part to contact her on Facebook. She's hoping sidewalk Wednesdays will spread from her south Charlotte school to become a wider movement.