North Carolina Teachers Just Closed Schools With A Massive Walkout

Demanding respect, thousands of teachers and students swarm North Carolina capital

The teachers' group favors a proposal by Cooper to raise salaries by stopping planned tax cuts on corporations and high-income households.

Jameel Williams was among the thousands from across the state to march from the NCAE headquarters to the North Carolina State Legislative Building.

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 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.

The teacher walkouts began in late February in West Virginia, where teachers shut down schools for nine days, leading to 5 percent raises for school staffers and state workers. According to the North Carolina Association of Educators, which coordinated the march, there were upward of twenty thousand people in attendance. "If I'm going to teach civics there's no better real world experience that being out here and using my voice and my rights as a voter and as a citizen exercising my civic duty to advocate for myself and colleagues and neighbors and my students and our communities across rural North Carolina". Still many teachers say they work second jobs in the summer and pay for much of their classroom supplies themselves. "It's been past time, but now is an opportunity to say we're going to stand with other teachers in other states", said Patrick, who teaches in Cumberland County, home to the Army's largest base at Fort Bragg.

New teachers in SC bring home a little more than $33,057, both are below the national average. Wake County Public School System - the largest in the state - is among those canceling classes.

Concord Football Coach Marty Paxton and basketball coach Angela Morton, along with other teachers attended the rally.

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"We would just like to collectively recognize and thank all the teachers from around the state who traveled to be with us", Moore said. The gathering in uptown was a way for those teachers to still have their voices heard, she said. "They deserve resources to help make them successful".

"We are on track to spend over $2 billion more on K-12 in 2018-19 than was spent in 2010-2011", he said in a Twitter post.

"We are now about $2,400 below the national average in how we fund our public school children", Jewell said at a news conference in Raleigh earlier this week.

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.

"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.

The North Carolina Association of Educators is calling for per-student spending and teacher pay to be raised to at least the national average.

"We have no intention of raising taxes", Berger said. When adjusted to inflation, teachers in the state make less than they did a decade ago. Teachers are photocopying assignments off the internet or from old workbooks because textbooks haven't been replenished in years, North Carolina Association of Educators President Mark Jewell said. Instead, she said she was mostly at the rally to support educators like the ones who teach her children.

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