I am a public school teacher in Buncombe County and have devoted more than 17 years of service to NC. I am very invested in the children of this great state, and I have two children of my own who are currently in 2nd and 5th grades. As a mother, teacher, and constituent, I know that you are facing very tough decisions about the financial budget in our state.
In the midst of the hard choices you have to make, I want to urge you to continue funding for the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) in the educational budget. NCCAT has been an indispensable part of my career as an educator. It has provided stimulating and thought-provoking sessions that renew my spirit and my desire to plan challenging lessons for my kids. Particularly, my involvement with the Holocaust Education segment of NCCAT ignites my passion to help students understand that hate and intolerance are dangerous components of current society that have no place in our future. I have had the pleasure of studying at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum with NCCAT, and I can honestly say that I am a better teacher and person for it.
Just last week, I used the connections, education, and training that I have learned through NCCAT to bring one of the Lost Boys from Sudan to my school as a guest speaker. My students were mesmerized by his story of survival and challenged by his quest for education. This young man put a face on what is WRONG with hatred and genocide and made the curriculum come alive for our school. I could not have provided that opportunity without the direct instruction, challenging programming, and teacher networking that I have received by attending NCCAT seminars. There is not a better form of staff development in our state.
I implore you to carefully consider what NCCAT brings to North Carolina’s teachers when you sit at the budget table; please find a way to keep this valuable resource available for our educators! North Carolina’s teachers need NCCAT. But, more importantly, our students need teachers who have been challenged by its educational seminars.