80-Year-Old North Carolina Educator: Why I Got Arrested Protesting Right-Wing Agenda for Schools
Inequalities in education have always been in the forefront of my work. In the early years in public schools, there were two important changes underway: the desegregation of schools and the special education movement. Change comes slowly; for example, Wiley and another Raleigh school (Murphey) had the very first teachers in special education in the state. My teacher’s salary for that first year was provided by the Woman’s Club of Raleigh because there were no funds available. The next year, local school supplement funds were used to pay the teacher, and eventually the state began funding special education instructors. When I was principal, the teachers and I spent weeks prior to the first day of school working out transportation for students coming from all across the city.
I could go on to deplore many proposed laws that tend to turn back the clock on gains made for greater equality and opportunity for citizens and their families. Employers, private and public, benefit from strong families and communities. I devoted my entire career to making sure that all of our children get the very best education possible, and I am willing to be arrested today to make my voice heard to the North Carolina General Assembly.