Public Schools First NC is proud to announce its association with NC Students for Public Education. Working together with this student-led group will allow us to share another important perspective on public education, adding to the valuable insights found in our Red4Ed NC Teachers’ Forum, Scholars’ Corner and Parents’ Perspective.
July 2015: The Gift of a Teacher Recommendation
From NC Students for Public Education from the coalition’s chair, Jhana Parikh:
I am a product of the North Carolina Public Education system.
In 2014, I graduated from Enloe High School in Wake County, NC, marking the end of six years spent in public school. In those six years, I gained knowledge, experience, and a skill set beyond academics that makes me successful now.
The impact of public education on my life has been both intense and immediate. Routine and hierarchy taught me to respect authority; a large school size allowed freedom of expression. The social experience of public school is unparalleled, containing a diversity of backgrounds and personalities that cannot be found in private education. Some of my high school teachers remain the most influential people in my life, serving as coaches, mentors, and role models to me and countless others. I am proud to say that I come from a NC public school.
Despite all of these strengths, recent policy decisions have begun to tilt the scale against public education. My class sizes almost doubled from my freshman to my senior year; I didn’t have a history textbook in 11th grade because there weren’t enough. I witnessed countless teachers leave for better-paying jobs, choosing the ability to cover expenses over a profession they loved.
During my senior year, I created NC Students for Public Education in response to what I consider a state crusade against public schools, brought upon by frozen teacher pay, underfunding for school supplies, and a general lack of respect for the system. This coalition of students serves to advocate for public education, sharing the experience of the primary stakeholders as a method of inspiring change. We want policymakers to realize the importance of public education, as well as the flaws in the system that need to be addressed.
This summer, I’ll be writing a series of pieces about students, our perspective, and why public education matters to us. I’ll include my own personal experiences, as well as some from students currently in the system. Our stories will cover teachers, textbooks, and everything in between, highlighting the true impact of public schools on the students they produce. Every voice deserves to be heard, and it’s time for students to share theirs.
Jhana Parikh, Chair NCSPE
NC Public School Graduate
UNC Chapel Hill Class of 2018