North Carolina teachers organize against cuts to public education
16 May, 2018, 14:58
More than 15,000 teachers signed up to attend the rally, but it's unclear how many will take the day off and come to the march.
It depends on whom you ask.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) The opening day of North Carolina's General Assembly session will be marked by thousands of teachers descending on the Legislative Building to lobby for more school funding and higher salaries.
North Carolina doesn't allow either formal teacher unions or strikes, but that doesn't prohibit what is essentially a work slowdown from teachers who collectively choose to take personal leave the same day. Regardless of whether it results in legislative action - as protests did in Oklahoma and Arizona - allowing teachers a penalty-free day in Raleigh gives them an opportunity to be a part of something bigger instead of feeling isolated and frustrated at home. Teachers will advocate for better pay and working conditions.
Can teachers and lawmakers find common ground?
But funding for both are on the rise.
Legislators, now is the time to adjust spending on education. But a recent snapshot of teacher pay put the state in 37th place nationally, and 39th place for per-pupil spending. Our hope is that they will use this new found strength and power not just to receive more pay, but to effect meaningful and measurable improvements for the more than 1.5 million students in our state.
Moore called the proposed 6.2% increase "a major step".
"I would really challenge any lawmaker to argue the fact that at this point, after so many cuts over so many years, that they could really make any kind of claim that they're helping public education", she said.
It's estimated that 2,000 teachers from the greater-Charlotte area plan to go to Raleigh.
Representatives for the National Education Association and the North Carolina Association of Educators couldn't be immediately reached.
One local teacher attending the rally in Raleigh is Jeffrey Pageau, a French teacher at Rocky Mount High School. "The plan must also stop the flat-lining of experienced educators' pay". Test scores take precedence over learning through current textbooks, effective class sizes and well-maintained school buildings.
- Increase the number of school nurses, counselors, social workers and other support personnel and expand Medicaid to improve community health.
- Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.
More than 650 teachers had asked to take off in Wayne County, and nearly 300 requested time off in Onslow County before the school boards chose to cancel classes. "We can not attract the best and brightest educators when we then pay them far less than they would make in another field requiring the degree level they achieve". On the day of the march, Durham Public Schools will offer free breakfast and lunch to students at 13 schools.
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