Thousands of teachers rally in Raleigh

More than 15,000 teachers have signed up to attend the "March for Students and Rally for Respect", an event that's causing at least 38 school districts, including Wake, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Durham and Johnston counties and Chapel Hill-Carrboro, to cancel classes Wednesday. The national average public school teacher salary was $58,353.

"The ultimate goal is to elect more pro-public education leaders in North Carolina and to have long-term, sustainable victories", they added.

Thousands of teachers in Raleigh, North Carolina will participate in a strike to push for increased educational funding and salary increases from the state.

"We are now about $2,400 below the national average in how we fund our public school children", Jewell said at a news conference in Raleigh earlier this week.

The rally will be different from some of the longer work stoppages in Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Arizona, since teachers are taking just one personal day to rally at the legislative building in Raleigh.

The rally is meant to be a kickoff for a campaign to get more candidates who support public education elected to the statehouse in November, when every seat in the state House and Senate is up for grabs.

North Carolina Association of Educators President Mark Jewell was in the House gallery.

More than three dozen school districts that together educate more than two-thirds of the state's 1.5 million public school students have chose to close classrooms to allow for the show of strength by the teachers and their advocacy group. We also have to provide the money so students can have the proper infrastructure. This is not normal. While there, he plans to meet with Superintendent Meghan Doyle and Tabari Wallace, the newly named 2018 North Carolina Principal of the Year.

Meanwhile, nearly all of the additional $2 billion the state is spending this year compared to six years ago has gone into education, including public universities and community colleges.

Carolynn Phillips, a middle school arts teacher from coastal Brunswick County who was named the county's Teacher of the Year for 2018, called the protest a cry for respect from teachers whose pay ranks toward the bottom of USA states. "When accounting for inflation, our students and educators lag even further behind".

A spokesman for House Speaker Tim Moore, a Republican, said that North Carolina has led the nation in teacher wage growth for the last two years.

While teacher pay is only a portion of the rally's objective, it is worth noting that teacher pay remains at 37 in the country, with teachers no longer being rewarded with tenure or raises for advanced degrees. "It is tax fairness for teacher pay, plain and simple". The resulting pressure led legislators in each state to improve pay, benefits or overall school funding.

Beller's salary is about the current state average, which climbed above $50,000 for the first time this year, state records show. "I mean we're treated like a stepchild and we are the professionals that make the professionals". They're demanding better pay and more resources for their classrooms. "It's about stopping the systematic dismantling of our public school system".

Students will not likely be required to make up the day, school officials said.

Jayne Jennings has been a teacher in Henderson County for more than a decade. "And I think now we are really kind of using our voices to say, 'We can't work like this in these conditions anymore and we need people in Raleigh who are going to correct this for our kids'". "I think they're entitled to that".

They also don't want lawmakers to pass any more corporate tax cuts until the per pupil spending reaches the national average.

  • Leroy Wright