NC lawmakers react to teacher rally

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

"I stand for better resources for children, which is a big part of why we teach". Buoyed by the success of the West Virginia strike, teachers in Kentucky, Oklahoma and Arizona soon followed suit, closing down schools and flooding their state capitals to call for more funding.

The teachers' group favors a proposal by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper to raise salaries by stopping planned tax cuts on corporations and high-income households. "Public education is the economy in North Carolina".

"If they are not supporting public education, then we are not returning them to the General Assembly", says Mark Jewell, president of the North Carolina Association of Educators.

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. The teachers walked from the North Carolina Association of Educators office to the North Carolina State Legislative Building. North Carolina also ranked 39th in terms of per-student spending, where students are allocated $2,313 less than the national average, which was $11,787 previous year.

North Carolina teachers earn an average salary of about $50,000, ranking them 39th in the country past year, the National Education Association reported last month.

Although the march and rally are primarily aimed at North Carolina's public education system, teachers from private and charter schools were in attendance as well.

Personally Myers has made choices about paying student loans or buying poster board for a student's class project.

At $49,970, North Carolina teachers ranked 39th in average teacher pay in 2017, according to the National Education Association, and teacher pay fell 9.4 percent since 2009.

More than three dozen school districts, including the 10 largest in the state, have chose to close classrooms as a result.

Dwayne Simmons, a teacher at Ashley Park, went to Charlotte's local rally for teachers, advocating for an increase and teacher salaries and funding for education.

"It's hard to teach when we don't have the supplies that we need, when we don't have the curriculum in place in time", Ann Simmons, an elementary school teacher in Raleigh, told WTVD-TV. "They came today because they believe they deserve the legislature's respect for helping to make that happen". He said the day's focus should be "the fact that a million kids are not going to be in school (Wednesday) because a political organization wants to have folks come there to communicate with us or send a message".

"We are on track to spend over $2 billion more on K-12 in 2018-19 than was spent in 2010-2011", he said in a Twitter post.

Jewell said teachers don't really expect the current leadership to meet all their demands, which is why they are also urging voters to not re-elect them. "But how do we pay for it?" said Cooper in a speech to the crowd. When adjusted to inflation, teachers in the state make less than they did a decade ago. "I know certainly at my school, so many young new teachers are only lasting two, three, at the max four years before they go into a new career".

Elmore says it may not be moving as fast as some would like but at least it is moving in the right direction; pointing out that he had firsthand knowledge of the pay struggles teachers have faced.

Robertson said she and her colleagues need behavioral support in the classrooms, textbooks that match their curriculum and even materials for their reading program.



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