Teachers March for Better Pay in North Carolina

17 May, 2018, 06:57 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Demanding respect, thousands of teachers and students swarm North Carolina capital

"I don't believe these 19,000 educators came here with a specific agenda in mind or with the expectation that legislators would be passing important bills today", said state Sen.

Strikes, walkouts and protest rallies have swept through West Virginia, Arizona, Kentucky, Colorado and Oklahoma since February.

The teachers' group favors a proposal by Cooper to raise salaries by stopping planned tax cuts on corporations and high-income households.

Although the Wednesday rally is the only action of its kind now on the slate for North Carolina's teachers, both Wood and Speight said that it's "just the beginning" of the backlash coming to lawmakers when the polls open in November.

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.

Carolynn Phillips, a middle school arts teacher from coastal Brunswick County who was named the county's Teacher of the Year for 2018, called Wednesday's protest a cry for respect from teachers whose pay ranks toward the bottom of the teacher pay scales in the 50 US states.

"The veteran teachers have been left out". The teachers walked from the North Carolina Association of Educators office to the North Carolina State Legislative Building. "If I'm going to teach civics there's no better real world experience that being out here and using my voice and my rights as a voter and as a citizen exercising my civic duty to advocate for myself and colleagues and neighbors and my students and our communities across rural North Carolina".

While teachers need money to survive, most say the love for educating students drew them to the profession, not the pay check.

Teachers and reporters posted photos, videos, and updates from Raleigh with the hashtags #RedforEd, #RedforEdNC, and #NCTeacherRally.

Miss North Carolina Victoria Huggins sang the National Anthem to open the session.

The largest school districts in the state announced closures once it became clear that not enough teachers would be in the classroom.

Rep. Mark Brody spent a lot of time Wednesday explaining that when he wrote "union thugs" were behind the rally that brought thousands of educators to Raleigh, he wasn't talking about individual teachers.

"That just tells me all I need to know", Butler said.

But not all of them could make it. "We're grossly underfunding our schools", he said. "But how do we pay for it?" said Cooper in a speech to the crowd.

As part of their multi-year professional compensation and benefits plan, teachers want to get an annual cost-of-living increase, get significant raises for all public school employees, and end pay for performance based on test scores, to name a few of their priorities. 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, the NEA said. She said she has a personal stake in the success of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools since three grandchildren will be entering the system over the next three years. "They deserve professionally paid educators", the organization said in a statement. However, many teachers state that they prefer longer-term contracts to feel more secure in their jobs, WTKR reported.

"There is usually not this much excitement during the short session, but its good to see this many folks turning out to support education which is critical to our state and critical to our workforce development", said Sec.



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