North Carolina: Teachers 'Raleigh' for Salary Increase

17 May, 2018, 00:41 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • NC Teachers’ March on Raleigh and the Tax Cuts that Led Them There

Thousands of teachers are set to hit the streets of North Carolina's capital, bidding to force a political showdown over wages and funding for public school classrooms in this conservative, tax-cutting state.

Union County teachers are joining the almost 15,000 North Carolina educators who will march to the General Assembly at the state's Capitol Wednesday morning in protest.

"Our legislators have shown that they don't listen", Todd Warren, a K-5 Spanish teacher now serving as the president of the Guilford County Association of Educators told Teen Vogue. "We vote!" and "This is what Democracy looks like!"

All the teachers were dressed in red T-shirts that had different messages but encompassed one unifying message: uniting for teacher's rights.

Among them was Lisa Godwin, the state's 2017 teacher of the year.

Durham and Chapel Hill-Carrboro school districts have also told students not to report to school Wednesday because too many teachers will be absent, the Charlotte Observer reports. "I have another colleague who's leaving and moving to Tennessee because she said immediately, walking in the door, as a 20 year teacher, she'll make $10,000 a year more", said Jennings. "This is not the North Carolina way". They have the money to pay us more.

For Mahra Whitelock, a first-grade teacher at Mineral Springs Elementary in the former tobacco town of Winston-Salem, it's not about her pay. She has seen class sizes rise and textbooks fall apart. "Don't cancel a day of school", Irvin said.

Powell said he is about to retire after working 32 years as a teacher in Raleigh. "I mean we're treated like a stepchild and we are the professionals that make the professionals". "I feel like this is something that I'm becoming more passionate about, because I'm realizing the impact that it has".

Demanding respect, thousands of teachers and students swarm North Carolina capital
Thousands of teachers rally in Raleigh

North Carolina is now ranked 37th in the United States for average teacher pay and 39th in per-pupil spending. Educators in several states have walked out of their classrooms over the last few months as a form of protest. Cook says he thinks the teachers are caught up in a national movement after demonstrations in West Virginia, Arizona and elsewhere. Your biggest legislative support comes from the Republican State legislature. The state's Republican-dominated General Assembly is calling for raises of 5 to 6 percent.

This, of course, isn't just a North Carolina issue.

The rally is expected to wrap up around 4 p.m. "This has gone on long enough that people are either ready to quit and leave the profession or they're ready to fight", he said.

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. "They actually love the job and love their students enough that they're willing to take a stand and defend it". "There were not a lot of parents who could pitch in and help us buy basic things like pens and paper, things the state should be supplying schools anyway".

Rachel Holdridge is a special education teacher at Wilmington's Alderman Elementary School.

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. This year, she become the local organization's vice president. But, she said, "you've got to start somewhere".

Besides aged computer equipment at school, none of them have brought home a textbook all year, with teachers instead handing out worksheets to glue into their notebooks.

"I think this will represent a power shift in our state", Kelly told Teen Vogue.


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