UMAPS Focus on specific Public Education Priorities.
North Carolina’s public education system needs many things, money, teachers, new schools, the list is long. The North Carolina General Assembly meets this year, 2019, to budget for the many needs of public schools. UMAPS has reviewed many of these needs for 2019, and has prioritized 5 areas for congregations to advocate for. These priorities deal with short and long term public education needs plus we have added a priority to mobilize congregations. We list the main priorities of several advocacy organizations below the UMAPS list.
Universal Pre-K programs
- Justification – Pre-K programs provide the basis for all learning throughout a child’s education. Not all children get the opportunity to learn basic learning skills before going to kindergarten and grade 1. Pre-K programs are widely supported by business as they
- Pre – K programs support working and poor families, and better outcomes for children in reading and in long-term quality of life.
- We advocate for more money and resources be allocated on an equitable basis to provide mandatory Pre-K education to every child in NC.
Rural Schools Challenges
- Justification – to provide equitable education, money is inequitably applied, Methodist churches uniquely situated to address rural concerns, as an economic investment in the future of our rural communities
- Equitable school funding with urban schools.
- Remove school funding and support from political power plays.
- We call upon Methodists to support public bonds for infrastructure, new schools and for refurbishing and maintaining schools. The GA is considering a $1.9B Bond for new schools and school upgrades and repairs. Studies show the need being closer to $10B.
Teacher and Administrator Pay and Support
- Justification – we need to attract and recruit well-educated and high-performing teachers, increase teacher retention, and increase respect for the teaching profession.
- Raise the average teachers and administrative staff salary and benefits to exceed the national average
- Resume graduate degree pay scales, funding for teacher accreditation, North Carolina Teaching Fellows program, support pensions (reinstate pensions for new teachers) for state employees
- Provide adequate funding for support personnel such as aides, social workers, school nurses, and mental health support
- We advocate for a larger State budget to achieve these goals.
Inconsistencies in School Disciplinary Procedures
- Justification – reduce the school to prison pipeline; the importance of neighborhood or community engagement in school discipline to address any inequities; educating children about character, role models, personal responsibility; encourage positive reinforcement
- Examine the effectiveness of traditional disciplinary practices
- Increase awareness of and education surrounding inequitable disciplinary processes
- We advocate for restorative justice rather than retributive justice approaches in school disciplinary processes, e.g., decriminalize school discipline
Educate, Advocate, and Mobilize local congregations
- Justification - no changes to public education will occur unless there is a substantive public outcry and advocacy for those changes. UMC Congregations provide the perfect vehicle for justice action to be taken by UMC members. In order to accomplish the focus on the points above UMAPS will:-
- Involve District Mission Strategy Teams in recruitment and organizing efforts
- Give districts and local churches tools to begin grassroots organizing and advocacy
- Create visibility for UMAPS on its resources– website, large conference, support from the Bishops; advocacy methods, stories of needs, challenges, priorities and successes.
- Involve UM connectional groups in training, advocacy, and mobilization.