Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Arts&Culture | By Antoinette Montgomery

WNC Teachers Rally In Satellite Marches

WNC Teachers Rally In Satellite Marches

Hours after the record-setting rally ended outside the General Assembly, rally organizers were smiling and taking group photos inside NC Association of Educators headquarters - still jubilant and hopeful.

According to the National Education Association, North Carolina's teachers ranked 39th in average teacher pay previous year, with an average salary of $49,970.

The North Carolina educators say their top goal is to get legislators to increase annual per-pupil funding, which is now about $9,329, according to a 2018 report by the National Education Association.

"We are extremely aware that disrupting family routines puts a burden on parents", Wake County school board chairwoman Monika Johnson-Hostler said in a statement.

In Puerto Rico, thousands of teachers walked out of classes in March to protest the cash-strapped government's plan to shut down more than 300 schools this year as the unincorporated US territory struggles to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria in September.

Cooper, who is working to eliminate the GOP's veto-proof majorities in fall elections, urged teachers to ask lawmakers, "are you going to support even more tax cuts for corporations and the very wealthy, or are you going to support much better teacher pay and investment in our public schools?"

"It's become a struggle every day when you don't have what you need to be able to equip these young folks with what they need", William Powell, a middle school teacher in Raleigh, told ABC station WTVD-TV as he and scores of other educators marched down Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh. 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.

"For me it's really about increasing per-pupil spending to increase services for our kids", says Winston-Salem teacher Maree Webster. "We vote", Lyde said. It was $37,514 in North Carolina.

"Teachers work magic with what we don't have".

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. "This semester, one of my former students approached me and pulled out her AP history book smiling because my name was in the front cover".

Chris Mayfield, a retired teacher, explained why she was protesting. "For them to see their teachers and the people in their community out advocating for them and to make positive changes in their community, I don't think there's a better lesson that they could learn".

However, state Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore, both Republicans, have made clear they have no plans to funnel more money to classrooms by postponing January's planned tax cuts, including one for what is already one of the country's lowest corporate income taxes.

Pennington said some teachers can get better pay somewhere other than in the schools.

"A lot of people want to throw money at a problem, and that's helpful some times". They said a lack of funding is making their job harder in more ways than one.

"It's wonderful", she said. Whether they'll get more respect remains to be seen. She takes a sober view of how much the march will accomplish, but said: "You've got to start somewhere".

"The children that are coming to [public] school now are mainly children of color, black and brown kids", she said.

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.

"We have a library but no librarian".

Conrad said she co-sponsored eight of the education bills.

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