Thousands march in Raleigh for Teacher's Rally for Respect

17 May, 2018, 06:57 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • North Carolina Teachers Walk Out of Schools, Rally for Better Pay (PHOTOS)

"I'm one of the last teachers out of the building on a regular basis, and we work really hard for the kids and we're passionate", Simmons said.

This afternoon, protesters will assemble on Bicentennial Plaza for the Rally for Respect, where a lineup of education leaders and other guests will offer their perspective on the state of education in North Carolina. "Public education is the economy in North Carolina".

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.

"We wanted to be part of this movement that brought this wave that was started in West Virginia", said Lynn Wiscarver, an English teacher at Davie County High School and the vice president of the Davie County Association of Educators.

Hosted by the North Carolina Association of Educators, organizers said it was a "day of solidarity for public school educators and advocates", calling for for action from elected leaders, as the North Carolina General Assembly reconvened. The Republican-led legislature should expand Medicaid coverage so students and their families stay healthy, and cancel corporate tax cuts until school spending is increased, Jewell said.

According to the North Carolina Association of Educators, North Carolina spends about $2,400 less than the national average per student and ranks 37 in the nation for teacher pay. North Carolina state representative Mark Brody (R) posted on Facebook that teachers "choose to inconvenience" parents by rallying.

This year, the average North Carolina teacher made about $50,000, up almost 2 percent from last year but still some $9,600 short of the national average.

More than three dozen school districts, including the 10 largest in the state, have made a decision to close classrooms as a result.

North Carolina teachers rally in Raleigh on Wednesday.

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Wood echoed the sentiment and said that in his district, students had gone so far as to organize voter registration rallies for seniors turning 18 this year so that they could help in the efforts to vote out incumbent politicians who vote against teachers' interests. She said lawmakers and state government have let teachers down by failing to equip them properly to do their job.

"According to the NEA, North Carolina Ranked #2 in the U.S. for fastest rising teacher pay in 2017", Republican Senator Phil Berger, president pro tempore, said on Twitter during the march.

However, Conrad stressed that Republican legislators are not going to "shut down charter schools and do away with the opportunity scholarships" that pay a portion of the tuition for low-income students to attend a charter, religious or private school.

Teachers also filled a plaza outside the legislative building amid chants of "Red for Ed" backed by school marching bands.

"We have no intention of raising taxes", Berger said ahead of the march.

He called the proposed increase "a major step" and told reporters the raise represents the fifth year teacher pay has increased in North Carolina. Adjusted for inflation, state funding for North Carolina schools has fallen almost 8 percent since the recession hit.

Robertson said she and her colleagues need behavioral support in the classrooms, textbooks that match their curriculum and even materials for their reading program.

Myers said he thinks schools need emphasis for more nurses, addressing special education needs, or helping students with anxiety attacks related to standardized testing.

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