Teachers who can't make Raleigh rally show support from uptown Charlotte
Teachers who can't make Raleigh rally show support from uptown Charlotte
In North Carolina, Teacher Protest Exposes Rural-Urban Divide
17 May, 2018, 00:40
Teachers across the nation are making their voices heard this year.
North Carolina teachers want lawmakers to ensure "significant and livable raises for all educators", make schools safer, improve school buildings with a $1.9 billion Statewide School Construction Bond, and better students' health by adding more nurses, counselors, and expanding Medicaid. They deserve resources to help make them successful.
"Go ask your legislators that question: Are you going to support even more tax cuts or support better teacher pay and investment in our public schools?"
In an apparent pre-emptive strike, House Speaker Tim Moore said budget leaders in the House and Senate on Tuesday officially committed to at least a 6.2% increase in teacher salaries for the upcoming fiscal year. She became an active member of the Cumberland County Association of Educators in 2013, the same year 200 local teachers protested state education cuts, she said.
The North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE), which organized the march, is calling on legislators to spend more on students.
According to Rachel Holdridge, a special education teacher at Wilmington's Alderman Elementary School who also drives for Uber on the side to pay bills, lawmakers and state government "keep giving tiny raises and taking so much away from the kids". Jennings said North Carolina is 39th in the U.S. in spending per student and 37th in the nation in teacher pay. This is not normal. "And the folks that are fighting really deeply believe that public education is a cornerstone of our democracy, and we're in danger of losing it". The list includes raising both teacher pay and per-pupil spending to the national average over the next four years.
Officials in about 40 North Carolina school districts - including some of the state's largest - chose to close schools because of the one-day rally. "When accounting for inflation, our students and educators lag even further behind".
North Carolina ranks 37th in teacher pay and is below the national average, the group noted.
The protest continues a wave of walkouts this year by teachers in West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona and Colorado who said lawmakers have failed to adequately pay teachers and provide for schools.
While teacher pay is only a portion of the rally's goal, 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. "Our state dropped in these rankings due to poor management of the state's finances by our Democrat predecessors - teacher pay was cut, teachers were furloughed, and the salary schedule was frozen under Democrat control". The state recently redrew legislative districts, meaning some that were safely in the hands of Republicans are competitive.
Beller's salary is about the current state average, which climbed above $50,000 for the first time this year, state records show. "I have participated in marches before, but nothing that has been directly related to my professional life", said Whitelock, who's taught at the same school for 7 years.
Teachers filled a plaza outside the legislative building amid chants of "Red for Ed" backed by drums and a trombone. "It's about stopping the systematic dismantling of our public school system". A paper co-authored by a Duke University professor a year ago found that charter schools are reducing the funding available for Durham's public schools by $500 and $700 per student, The News & Observer reported.
Jayne Jennings has been a teacher in Henderson County for more than a decade. Just 25 percent of the students at Joyner live below the poverty level, "so we get a lot of parental support", Beller said. I'd give them money to protest.
Brumble said the group wants lawmakers to know they need more funds for building upkeep, textbooks and student resources.
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