North Carolina teachers from all over the state gathered together on Wednesday to march for an increase in funds and resources so they can properly teach their students.
Sporting red “Respect Public Education” t-shirts, thousands of teachers marched on downtown Raleigh to ask lawmakers to make changes so teachers will be better equipped to educate their students.
“We’re going to change the trajectory of public education in North Carolina,” North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) President Mark Jewell told WRAL Wednesday. “This is a historic day for the state of North Carolina, and I’m proud to lead the way.”
.@NCAE President Mark Jewell tells #WRAL today is ‘historic’ for teachers in North Carolina. He estimates a crowd of 20,000 educators demonstrating at the North Carolina Legislative Building. pic.twitter.com/mnU3s6dM0S
— Adam Owens (@AdamOwensTV) May 16, 2018
“I got chemo while pregnant on Friday … at work Monday. Please question my loyalty” were the words decorating Pender County teacher Karen Braxton’s sign, WRAL reported. Braxton’s heard complaints alleging North Carolina teachers are lazy and less-than dedicated to their students — both of which are simply absurd and insulting charges — she explained.
“We’re so underfunded,” she continued. “We can’t draw in the most excited, motivated people. People are leaving. They don’t want to teach here.”
— Laura Brache (@laura_brache) May 16, 2018
NCAE estimates that over 20,000 people marched through downtown Raleigh on Wednesday.
— James C. Morrison (@JCMorrisn) May 16, 2018
“We have to fund our schools. We have to pay our teachers,” one Durham parent said at the march, according to WRAL. “It’s one of the most important things we can do as a culture and for our future.”
“We are very grateful for the raises that we have had, but it’s not enough,” eighth grade Durham teacher Dahlresma Marks-Evans said. “Inflation’s going up, cost of living’s going up, gas is going up. What you’ve given us is not enough because we’re still having to supply the classroom if it’s lacking in any way.”
North Carolina teachers average $51,000 annually, following four years of increased wages, according to WRAL. Most of the increases, however, have gone to senior-level teachers, resulting in a higher average salary but leaving elementary and middle school teachers with the same pay they had previously.
Some North Carolina Republican lawmakers are skeptical of teachers’ demands, alleging the educators are in cahoots with Democrats. “There is no question that the NCAE is very closely aligned with the Democratic party in North Carolina,” GOP Senate leader Phil Berger said. “Much of what we’re hearing is politically motivated.”
North Carolina is 37th in the nation in teacher pay.