Published: Fri, May 18, 2018
World News | By Sandy Lane

Teachers March in North Carolina: What to know, and why they're

Teachers March in North Carolina: What to know, and why they're

As a Raleigh elementary school teacher told The Associated Press: "We're here to tell our legislators and our representatives that we need more funds to keep our buildings in good shape, to get more textbooks, more resources for our students, to just have a better environment for public education".

"It's historic to me", Jones said.

HC: What do you hope this rally will accomplish?

"I just believe that this is a show of solidarity", Letchworth said.

The windows of many GOP legislators were covered with signs and pamphlets promoting a website - www.ncteacherraise.com - for how teachers could track years' worth of pay and other compensation raises.

Taylor Myers is a Warren New Tech social studies teacher.

"This has to be a bipartisan effort to fix our educational problems, and you can't convince me there are not Republican-leaning teachers who feel the same way as Democratic-leaning teachers on this subject". In West Virginia, Oklahoma and Arizona, legislators have funded paltry wages increases through regressive taxes on workers and cuts to social programs (see: "Deals by unions to end USA teacher strikes funded by regressive taxes, more budget cuts").

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Later on in the afternoon, there was a rally on Halifax Mall that opened with Governor Roy Cooper giving a speech along with other teachers speaking.

Most carried signs expressing their hopes and desires.

State Sen. Paul Lowe, D-Forsyth, said he was moved by hearing another round of teacher stories, those from Forsyth and across North Carolina.

"We have a situation", said another.

"I've been schooled a lot in the last couple of hours", Brody said.

New teachers in SC bring home a little more than $33,057, both are below the national average.

Williams said he's seen instructional assistants cut to covering four classrooms at once.

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Despite a milder official designation, however, John Wood - a teacher at Research Triangle High School, a public charter school near Durham - said that teachers had turned out en masse as a direct challenge to politicians who have consistently pursued party interests over their demands. She makes sure students who can't see the chalkboard get glasses, and she maintains a food pantry and a clothing closet for children in need. She went with her two daughters, one a teacher and one a fifth-grader.

Dressed in red T-shirts, the tide rolled through downtown Raleigh and crashed on the legislative building, where the Republican-controlled legislature started its annual work session.

The demands of their main advocacy group, the North Carolina Association of Educators, include raising per-pupil spending and pay for teachers and support staff to the national average, and increasing school construction to match the state's population growth. (Republicans say it will cost too much to get N.C. teachers to the national average.) Cooper would pay for these increases by holding off on a planned tax cut for business and for people making more than $200,000 a year.

Teachers at the local rally said per-pupil spending was one of this biggest issues on their minds.

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 past year, but they still earn less than what they were making a decade ago when adjusted for inflation.

Previous strikes, walkouts and protests in West Virginia, Arizona, Kentucky, Colorado and Oklahoma led legislators in each state to improve pay, benefits or overall school funding. "Let's use that money to raise teacher pay instead". "They deserve safe schools and schools that are not crumbling and in disrepair". She also skipped the other three jobs she said she holds to make ends meet. "They come to class crying, they're hungry; 80 percent or more are at the poverty level".

"It's wonderful", she said.

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