Gov. Cooper tweets support of teachers during Raleigh rally

17 May, 2018, 01:19 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Demanding respect, thousands of teachers and students swarm North Carolina capital

Since February, strikes, walkouts and protest rallies have swept through West Virginia, Arizona, Kentucky, Colorado and Oklahoma - pushing legislators in each state to improve pay, benefits or overall school funding.

The state's main teacher advocacy group, the North Carolina Association of Educators, demands legislators increase per-pupil spending to the national average in four years, increase school construction for a growing state, and approve a multiyear pay raise for teachers and school support staff to bring incomes to the national average.

Tens of thousands of public school teachers and students wearing #RedForEd T-shirts marched in the streets of North Carolina's capital today, surrounding the state General Assembly building in a powerful show of solidarity for increased education funding. Teacher pay was estimated to rise another 1.8 percent on average this year, the NEA said, but that still represented a 9.4 percent slide in real income due to inflation since 2009.

Johnson was also scheduled to hold a media event at Roger Bell Elementary School in Craven County, but the school made a decision to postpone his visit due to the teacher rally, according to district spokeswoman Jennifer Wagner. We've done these things over and over and over again. Warren, who's been a teacher for 14 years, said that so many teachers have requested a personal day to participate in the May 16 protest that 40 of the state's school districts have opted to close.

The one-day labor action caused numerous school districts across the state to cancel classes for more than 1 million students. Jennings said North Carolina is 39th in the United States in spending per student and 37th in the nation in teacher pay.

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North Carolina teachers on Wednesday joined the fight for funding teachers have been waging across the country. Better pay is one of the teachers' demands, but it's hardly their only focal point.

Butler had a sign outside her door welcoming teachers.

Teachers in Pender County woke up early to board buses heading to Raleigh for the Rally for Respect event. I'd give them money to protest.

Teachers say that they intend to mobilize and keep a focus on legislators now backtracking on their promises.

"I really feel like this is a part of their education - standing up and being active in a civic way", she said. "I don't think they ever thought that we would unite like this and get schools closed across the state [to] be here". "I feel like this is something that I'm becoming more passionate about, because I'm realizing the impact that it has". Almost 7,500 teachers' assistant positions have been cut in the last decade, participants argue, and nearly a quarter of the state's kids live in poverty. The state's Republican-dominated General Assembly is calling for raises of 5 to 6 percent. Republican legislative leaders say that's not going to happen.

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North Carolina Association of Educators President Mark Jewell was in the House gallery.

"This plan must include restoration of compensation for advanced degrees and longevity", the state teachers group said. As legislators convened, the crowd could be heard chanting, "Remember, remember, we vote in November".

The march and rally were organized to demand better pay for teachers and more resources for public schools. This year, she become the local organization's vice president. While she took a sober view of whether the rally would change policy, she said: "You've got to start somewhere". For those who can not attend the rally, we encourage you to reach out to your local elected officials encouraging change and continue to support the movement long after May 16.

Both lawmakers came away impressed with the meeting, and the effort teachers made to raise their concerns with elected leaders. We have done everything that has been asked of us, and then some.

"We won't be fooled", said Garcia.

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