The protest was the latest in a wave of actions and strikes this year by teachers in states including West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona and Colorado who feel lawmakers have failed to adequately pay teachers and provide for schools.
First of all, teacher pay in SC is, to say the least, inadequate. The ultimate goal, according to the North Carolina Association of Educators, is to elect more pro-public education leaders in North Carolina.
At least one state legislator said the rally is driven by "union thugs".
Yevonne Brannon, chair of Public Schools First North Carolina, said beyond direct investment in schools, lawmakers need to look at the whole picture. Teachers here are capitalizing on it. Republicans are clearly wary of it, especially in a year where progressives have shown across the country that they're willing to voice their unhappiness with their votes.
Local business owner, Mike Marshall, who is a vocal advocate for teachers said, "The guarantee that goes along with being a government employee is that you have benefits and can nearly rest assured you have a job for life".
As Wednesday's march approaches, North Carolina Republicans have been emphasizing raises approved by state lawmakers in recent years, raises that lifted the state from near the bottom of the nation in teacher pay to 39th this year.
North Carolina ranks 37th in teacher pay and is below the national average, the group noted.
"The lackluster rankings come at the same time that the North Carolina General Assembly has passed massive tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy", the North Carolina Association of Educators said. The senator says the legislature has been giving teachers raises, but a CMS teacher tells FOX 46 Charlotte her take home pay is actually going down.
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She said she had been personally affected by changes to seniority pay that made her no longer eligible for annual raises. "They deserve resources to help make them successful".
Rachel Holdridge, a special education teacher at Wilmington's Alderman Elementary School, said she drives for Uber to make ends meet despite working in education for 22 years.
But funding for both are on the rise.
Legislators have already agreed to a $23.9 billion spending target even before the short session got underway. In I-SS, we lost more than 100 teaching positions and more than a 100 teacher assistant positions.
"That's a major step. The downside is that it might not pay as much as private sector jobs". "It's put North Carolina in a public education crisis right now", Jewell says.
- Create a multiyear pay plan for teachers, support staff, administrators and all other school personnel. Teachers have also slammed lawmakers for bypassing raises for the state's most experienced educators.
Almost all public school teachers report digging into their pockets to pay for school supplies, spending almost $480 a year, far more than the federal $250 tax deduction available to teachers, according to the National Center of Education Statistics. Watauga County Schools, Ashe County Schools, Catawba County Schools and Cleveland County Schools did not respond to WBTV's question on whether classes would be in session.
Read the release from Asheville City Schools here. So many have requested leave that many school systems canceled classes for May 16, partly to express solidarity with teachers, but the reality is that current estimates indicate that more than one-third of all students could face empty classrooms that day, far exceeding the number of substitute teachers systems could find.