Greensboro, NC-- Chicago teachers are on strike, leaving thousands of students without school. This chaotic scenario could not happen in North Carolina.
This could not happen here in North Carolina because it's a "right to work" state, so labor unions are prohibited.
The Guilford County Association of Educators is an optional group for Guilford County employees to join.
News 2 spoke with Elizabeth Foster, President of the Guilford County Association of Educators.
Foster has worked in other states where she's been part of teacher unions.
"I don't think there's a single educator out there that doesn't want to be in the classroom every day. I think it's both the educators and the students that are suffering," said Foster.
GCAE is the largest teacher organization in the area with 3,000 Guilford County members including everyone from administrators to custodians. Some perks include legal services, insurance benefits, and professional resources. If members do have concerns about working conditions, the association can advocate for them.
"We do have a really good collaborative process where we sit down and try to advocate for what our folks need in a very dignified way and I think we're in a better place because we're used to talking," explained Foster.
Also, in North Carolina, rather than unions, educators can affect change in the ballot box. They can vote on local leaders who are pro-public education.
Foster thinks that the massive strike taking place in Chicago is reflective of a deeper issue. Education is at a crossroads in our country.
In the Triad, we recently learned about proposed ideas, like the charter school movement and education vouchers, enabling parents to send their children to private schools without additional tuition fees.
All of the education talk makes you wonder what the future of public education looks like in America.
WFMY News 2