NC Teachers Rally For Better Pay and Resources

Demanding respect, thousands of teachers and students swarm North Carolina capital

In North Carolina, Teacher Protest Exposes Rural-Urban Divide

"We're wearing these to support students and teachers", Broverman said, surprising her mother, who said they had not even discussed the shirts yet. Teachers in West Virginia, Arizona, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Colorado have all won pay raises, benefits or overall school funding.

Echoing the frustration of teachers who have walked out in other states, the group has also called for a moratorium on new corporate tax cuts until teachers are earning the national average. It was $37,514 in North Carolina.

NC State alum Alexandria Pitts ('15) teaches at Paw Creek Elementary School in Charlotte and is exhausted of hearing empty words of support from legislators.

"I am very glad so many teachers went to advocate for the students of North Carolina", he said.

Many school districts, including Cabarrus County Schools and Kannapolis City Schools, made the day an optional teacher workday because of the amount of teachers who requested off for the day.

But these Republican leaders appear determined not to change course under pressure, and North Carolina educators aren't unionized, so they have fewer options for organized protest than teachers in some of these other states.

Teachers wore red and made posters for the event.

House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, and N.C. Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, touted the website Tuesday, as well as the totality of average teacher pay rising 19 percent, or by $8,600, since 2014.

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To work around vacation day rules, the newspaper reports, "organizers of Wednesday's march encouraged teachers to use a provision in state law that allows them to take personal leave with at least five days" advance notice-as long as a substitute is available and the teacher pays a $50 "required substitute deduction.'" Dozens of districts canceled classes, meaning those educators won't be forced to pay the sub fee.

He said Wednesday's rally was one of the largest he's seen in those 30 years. Join us in a conversation about world events, the newsgathering process or whatever aspect of the news universe you find interesting or important.

"They keep giving tiny raises and taking so much away from the kids", said Holdridge, who came to the Legislative Building ahead of the march to lobby legislators. "We love our public schools and we deserve better!" She said lawmakers and state government have let teachers down by failing to equip them properly to do their job.

But with the Great Recession in the past and the state's financial stability restored, teachers say it's time to catch up on deferred school spending.

"These specific public education priorities will give every student an opportunity to succeed, and help recruit and retain educators as we face a critical shortage in our classrooms and school buildings", asserted NCAE president Mark Jewell. "It's the children, and we have to have a heart for our children", he said.

The group laid out a list of demands before the protest, calling on the state to meet the national averages in per-student spending and teacher pay within four years. Their pay increased by 4.2 percent over the previous year - the second-biggest increase in the country - and was estimated to rise an average 1.8 percent this year, but that still represents a 9.4 percent slide in real income since 2009 due to inflation, the NEA said.

One teacher says this is just the first of many statements educators plan to make in Raleigh.

Amy Buchen, a first-grade educator at Brassfield Elementary School in Raleigh, says she was amazed by the vast community that formed in the wake of this morning's protests.

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