Teachers Rally In Raleigh; What's Next?

Thirty percent of funds from the NC Education Lottery go back to education

Thirty percent of funds from the NC Education Lottery go back to education

Thousands of teachers marched in downtown Raleigh on Wednesday to send a message to state legislators to increase education spending and teacher pay.

"It's historic to me", Jones said. Many marchers were hoping to achieve what other educators around the country accomplished by pressuring lawmakers for change.

Being in Raleigh, she said, was important not just for her, but for her students as well - and she wants legislators to listen.

They want more technology and supplies, but the crowd also wants to teach the next generation that education is valued.

Taylor Myers is a Warren New Tech social studies teacher.

Burton says race plays a big role in the decision of the majority white Republican legislature to cut the state's public school budget.

Almost all of the marchers wore red to show support for teachers, carried signs and chanted slogans such as "Teachers just want to have funds" or "This is what democracy looks like".

Most carried signs expressing their hopes and desires.

The facts are these: The average pay for North Carolina teachers is $51,214.

"We respect and value our teachers' commitment to advocating for education", Superintendent Tony Baldwin said in a statement. "She was a public school teacher in Nash County".

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One of the uniting sentiments was the lack of respect teachers have experienced from state leaders, Trujillo said. "We're here to make sure the demands we've laid out get met - reinstating master's pay, readjusting class size".

The rally went on all day and the teachers say whether here or in Raleigh, teachers stand together.

The march is an effort to speak to legislators and hold them accountable for the next six months, and to make teachers and students their first priority, said Tim Crowley, communications manager for NCAE. Prior to the strike, Davis hadn't gone to a protest, but after speaking with her mother, who went on strike as a teacher in Colorado, Davis made a decision to join the growing movement.

Hundreds of teachers in red T-shirts filled a spectators gallery and chanted "remember, remember, we vote in November" as the Republican-controlled General Assembly started its session.

But Republican leaders appear determined not to change course, and North Carolina educators are not unionized, so they have fewer options for organized protest than teachers in some other states.

According to the National Education Association, North Carolina ranks 39th in public school teacher pay in the U.S. Teachers received a 4.2 percent pay bump previous year, but they still earn less than what they were making a decade ago when adjusted for inflation.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper spoke at a rally across the street, promoting his proposal to pay for higher salaries by blocking tax cuts for corporations and high-income households scheduled to take effect in January 2019.

The list of demands by educators consists of an increase for per-pupil spending, investing in more mental health counselors and a commitment of more money towards building upgrades, Crowley said. Dozens of current and former educators who protested this spring have filed to run for state office, and following the teacher walkout in Oklahoma, the president of state's largest teacher group announced it would shift its focus toward mobilizing and supporting pro-public education candidates in the November election. Even most Republicans support these ideas. The state has given raises but has cut pay for longtime teachers and for teachers who receive master's degrees. "We need to put our money where our trust is".

But Rachel Holdridge, a special education teacher at Wilmington's Alderman Elementary School, said lawmakers have let teachers down by failing to equip them properly to do their jobs. He said also that he wants to eliminate end-of-grade exams, eliminate Common Core standards and return control of school calendars to the local districts.

"It's wonderful", she said.

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