Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Teachers march in Raleigh, lawmakers give them a standing ovation

Teachers march in Raleigh, lawmakers give them a standing ovation

She said lawmakers have let teachers down by failing to equip them properly to do their jobs. The revolt started with striking teachers in West Virginia, who inspired their counterparts in Oklahoma and Arizona to form picket lines of their own.

It would raise teacher salaries by putting a stop to planned tax cuts for corporations and high income households.

North Carolina Association of Educators President Mark Jewell was in the House gallery.

"The main reason I'm here is, I've seen the pattern over the years where I feel the current politicians in charge of the state are anti-public education", said Raleigh high school teacher Bill Notarnicola as he prepared a time-lapse photo along the parade route. "Our veteran teachers have had nearly no raises", said Graham.

But these Republican leaders appear determined not to change course under pressure, and North Carolina educators aren't unionized, so they have fewer options for organized protest than teachers in some of these other states.

"Our students deserve better", the group said in a statement.

North Carolina teachers earn an average salary of about $50,000, ranking them 39th in the country past year, the National Education Association reported last month.

State Rep. Donny Lambeth, R-Forsyth, a former chairman of the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools Board of Education, said he recognized several teachers among the local contingent Wednesday.

"We have other districts and states recruiting NC teachers, so we can't compete", Powell said.

Miss North Carolina Victoria Huggins sang the National Anthem to open the session.

More than 1 million public school students got the day off because of the protest, The News & Observer reported.

People watch from inside the Legislative Building as participants gather during a teachers rally at the General Assembly in Raleigh, N.C., on May 16, 2018. Join us in a conversation about world events, the newsgathering process or whatever aspect of the news universe you find interesting or important. She says her classroom isn't connected to the school, and 25 years ago she was told it was supposed to be temporary.

However, Conrad stressed that Republican legislators are not going to "shut down charter schools and do away with the opportunity scholarships" that pay a portion of the tuition for low-income students to attend a charter, religious or private school. "We're grossly underfunding our schools", he said.

The website also stipulates five demands from elected leaders, including an increase in per-pupil spending, a "multi-year professional pay plan" for teachers, an increased number of mental and physical health professionals in schools, and moderated class sizes. Adjusted for inflation, state funding for North Carolina schools has fallen almost 8 percent since the recession hit.

"According to the NEA, North Carolina Ranked #2 in the USA for fastest rising teacher pay in 2017", Republican Senator Phil Berger, president pro tempore, said on Twitter during the march.

"We have no intention of raising taxes", Berger said ahead of the march. 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.

"People always say "We support teachers" but they have to show it", Pitts 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.

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