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First ever ‘Bring Your Legislator to School Day’ announced

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North Carolina’s legislators are heading back to school.

The entire General Assembly has been invited to participate in the inaugural Bring Your Legislator to School Day on May 15.

The initiative is a joint effort between N.C. Regional Teachers of the Year and Principals of the Year, the Public School Forum of North Carolina, and a multitude of legislative co-sponsors. The goal is to push legislators beyond talking policy and into the classrooms in their district.

“All state lawmakers can benefit from spending a day in our public schools to see the hard work and innovations occurring to ensure the success of our K-12 students, and it also will help them see the needs they can help address,” said Katherine Joyce, executive director of the North Carolina Association of School Administrators, in a press release.

Talking to teachers, principals, and students directly shows legislators first-hand the impacts of their decisions. The hope is that experiencing a day in the classroom and seeing the needs of students lets them make informed choices when they are voting in the future.

The initiative has bipartisan support with sponsors in the Senate and the House.

“I am a proud sponsor of ‘Bring Your Legislator to School Day’ because we, as legislators, have a moral and economic responsibility to show up in our local schools and listen to the needs of our students, teachers, and parents,” said Sen. Rachel Hunt, D-Mecklenburg.

“Bring Your Legislator to School Day is an important opportunity for General Assembly members to connect with educators in their communities, build relationships, and learn more about education from the classroom perspective,” said Sen. Amy Galey, R-Alamance.

Teachers and principals were essential in getting the initiative started. Dr. Patrick Greene, the 2022 Wells Fargo North Carolina Principal of the Year, has been working on it since its inception at a luncheon last fall.

Patrick Greene of Greene County Schools is the 2022 Principal of the Year. Alex Granados/EducationNC

“Teachers’ needs weren’t being seen, but we realized teachers and legislators have a lot of common goals,” Greene said. “We just need to get people in the same room, face to face, to discuss the issues.”

Greene’s plan for May 15 is to get teachers, legislators, and students all interacting and establishing a a lasting dialogue with each other.

“I want legislators to be thinking about the kids and the conversations they’ve had when they are working on these laws – there are real people being impacted by their decisions,” said Greene.  

Greene hopes the event will become an annual tradition and deepen legislator’s understanding of the children in their districts.

“Kids’ dreams don’t change just because they grow up in a poor area, and it’s important for our legislators to see that,” Greene said.

Hutch Whitman

Hutch Whitman is a fourth year ecology and journalism student at UC Santa Barbara and contract reporter with EdNC for spring 2023.