JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Teachers are angry about the latest pay raise approved by the state legislature and they’re looking at new ways to have their voices heard.
The Mississippi Association of Educators created a survey to gauge what actions teachers are willing to take.
Nakiya Beaman is one of the teachers that’s decided she has to speak up if she expects change.
“We cannot lose momentum again on this effort," said Beaman. "It’s an ongoing effort.”
There were seven options and the survey asked that teachers select all actions they’d be willing to take. The most popular choice was to refuse to support businesses that donate to the campaigns of anti-public education candidates. Then, participate in a one day statewide “sickout”. A rally at the State Capitol on a Saturday before the end of this school year was also a top choice.
“I feel like a lot of teachers are very protective of their jobs," noted Beaman. "They want to go back to their kids and back to the classroom without repercussions. Sickouts are a way to protect their jobs without any repercussions.”
Beaman is encouraged by the movement to take action but hopes that it will result in long term plans.
“Swift action," she says about what she hopes will come of the survey results. "Actually jumping on the visibility of this conversation right now. I would hope that if there are one day efforts that they are done within the context of when the public education system is most active, when the legislative session is in, while campaigning is going on.”
MAE says these survey results are just the start. They’ll be used to help guide the drafting of an organizing plan. That plan will be put in place from now through next year’s legislative session.
MAE President Joyce Helmick released the following statement on the survey.
Educators and public education supporters from every corner of the state were highly engaged this legislative session. Despite this high level of engagement, the legislature chose to largely ignore the needs of Mississippi’s educators and students. Educators made their frustration known then and have continued to use their teacher voice. We wanted to ensure that voice was united and amplified.
The Survey on Teacher Action was created to help determine the best way to move forward together as we continue advocating for our educators, our students, and our communities. The survey’s findings will guide the drafting of an organizing plan that will be implemented now through the 2020 legislative session.