Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

North Carolina teachers join 'Red for Ed' walkouts for higher pay

Credit Pixabay- Wokandapix via Creative Commons Credit Pixabay- Wokandapix via Creative Commons
| 17 May, 2018, 06:51

The end game from the teachers' perspective, Jewell says, is to "change the direction of public education policy" for years to come at the ballot box.

Similar walkouts and protests have prompted change in other states.

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.

Tax cuts passed since 2013 have cost the state $3.5 billion in lost annual revenue a year, according to the North Carolina Justice Center, a progressive research and advocacy organization.

Recent protests in states like Oklahoma and Arizona have put Republican lawmakers on the defensive as teachers and their supporters have castigated legislators for passing tax cuts and slashing education funding. The North Carolina Association of Educations (NCAE), who organized the event, said they hoped bringing thousands of educators from around the state would help get the attention of lawmakers and bring attention to education issues ahead of the legislative session and November's elections.

In the morning, teachers are planning to walk from the North Carolina Association of Educators office to the North Carolina State Legislative Building in what's being called March for Students and later holding a Rally for Respect in the afternoon in Raleigh. But according to the National Education Association, North Carolina ranks 37th in the country in teacher pay and 39th in per-pupil spending.

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

Miss North Carolina Victoria Huggins sang the National Anthem to open the session. At least 42 school districts, including the state's largest, canceled classes Wednesday.


Rep. Mark Brody spent a lot of time Wednesday explaining that when he wrote "union thugs" were behind the rally that brought thousands of educators to Raleigh, he wasn't talking about individual teachers.

"We need to keep this energy", he says. "We're grossly underfunding our schools", he said.

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.

Teachers are now scheduled to receive a six-percent pay raise next year, but Cooper is calling on state legislators to bump that pay increase to eight percent.

The 38-year-old said her concerns go beyond teacher pay to basic school needs that go unfunded. Dare County Schools reported eight teachers took personal days to attend the rally and one teacher took off from Perquimans Country Schools.

"We have the power to mold the future", he said. 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, but that still represents a 9.4 percent slide in real income since 2009 due to inflation, the NEA said.

Republican legislators have focused on increasing pay based on merit, rather than treating all teachers as if they were equally productive, he said. And planned raises for educators this year will make five in a row since state finances rebounded from the shock of a recession a few years ago, legislators said.

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

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