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Triad schools close for teacher rally

Triad schools close for teacher rally

Thousands of North Carolina teachers descended Wednesday on the State House in Raleigh to protest a growing funding crisis that has left schools with dwindling supplies of textbooks, ballooning class sizes, a dearth of qualified teachers, and educator pay that lags far behind the national average. Teacher pay was estimated to rise another 1.8 percent on average this year, the NEA said, but that still represented a 9.4 percent slide in real income due to inflation since 2009.

Their chants included "We care!"

Almost all of the marchers wore red to show support for teachers, carried signs and chanted slogans such as "Teachers just want to have funds" or "This is what democracy looks like".

Thousands of teachers marched about a mile to the State Capitol requesting state lawmakers to increase the state's per pupil expenditure.

Williams is in his 30th year of education and is a member of Vance County's Association of Educators.

According to march volunteers Amira Pankey and Julia Singley, who work with CAPE in Guilford County, approximately 14,000 teachers officially took personal days in order to attend the rally. She said lawmakers have let teachers down by failing to equip them properly to do their jobs. It's about the children that we work with every day. "So when we say an average salary is $51,000, that doesn't reflect the base pay".

Warren said he saw Democratic Reps. "This semester, one of my former students approached me and pulled out her AP history book smiling because my name was in the front cover".

Burton, a second generation graduate of the University of North Carolina, said the underfunding of public schools was something she truly did take personally.

"The mantra became, again and again, 'Do more with less.' And the problem has become at this point that there's not much less to do more with", Mitchell says.

Lowe said solutions need to include "shifting some resources toward the schools and being much better stewards of taxpayer money". I teach first grade.

Malinda Pennington, who now works at Rocky Mount High School and used to work in Wilson County Schools as an exceptional children program specialist, was in the mass of teachers.

Myers grew up in OH and is the son of a teacher.

"It's racially diverse. There's free lunches, a lot great kids, supportive parents, wonderful people working inside a district that doesn't have the resources it needs", Myers said. "I think today was a success, and I look forward to what is to come".

He said he understands local rural governments are "picked' when it comes to sales tax compared to larger revenues in Raleigh or Charlotte". "North Carolina public school educators, parents, and our communities demand better for our students". "So many teachers put in to be off on this day so we could be heard". We would rather be in the classroom, but this is too important.

The throng migrated nine blocks to the North Carolina General Assembly as a helicopter and a photo drone hovered overhead.

It would raise teacher salaries by putting a stop to planned tax cuts for corporations and high income households. GOP leaders have flatly rejected his idea.

James Holloway, Junior ROTC senior Army instructor at Beddingfield High School, had no sign, but said he came out to support teachers in their efforts to get more pay and better classroom support from the state.

"We must turn out the vote this fall, and the future of North Carolina schools hinges on this midterm elections", Elena Brown-Richardson, a teacher at Carmel Middle School, told the crowd.

The state legislature's prohibition of multi-year teaching contracts is part of North Carolina's attempt to eliminate teacher tenure, with previous laws aiming at that goal being struck down by the North Carolina Supreme Court in recent years.

The North Carolina Association of Educators told WTKR that the Wednesday protests are just "the beginning of a six month stretch of time to hold our legislators accountable for prioritizing corporate tax cuts instead of our classrooms".

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