Event set in Charlotte to support Raleigh teacher rally

H10 teacher strike

"I hope that they know that they have been listened to", said Republican State Representative Andy Dulin from Charlotte.

Strikes, walkouts and protest rallies have swept through West Virginia, Arizona, Kentucky, Colorado and Oklahoma since February.

"We've heard people like Gov. (Roy) Cooper push for a return to the same failed approach that required the furloughing of teachers and the freezing of their salaries by Democrats when they were last in control", said Berger Tuesday in a press conference ahead of the rally. It was $37,514 in North Carolina.

As teachers left his office, Brody handed them cards with the address to a Republican legislators' website on teacher pay.

"I feel the current politicians in charge of the state are anti-public education", Raleigh high school teacher Bill Notarnicola said as he prepared a time-lapse photo of the march.

"The veteran teachers have been left out".

The North Carolina educators say their top goal is to get legislators to increase annual per-pupil funding, which is now about $9,329, according to a 2018 report by the National Education Association.

Some parents say they're okay with that decision because teachers need to be better compensated.

The teachers demonstrating on Wednesday want to boost teacher pay and per-pupil funding to national levels within the next four years. "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.

North Carolina teachers earn about $50,000 on average, ranking 39th in the country previous year, the National Education Association reported last month.

More than three dozen school districts that together educate more than two-thirds of the state's 1.5 million public school students have made a decision to close classrooms to allow for the show of strength by the teachers and their advocacy group.

Lee Irvin of Cary said he's sympathetic to the teachers' demands, if not their method, which is forcing the software engineer and his wife to work from home on Wednesday. "We need to get behind our students now or accept that the way things are is how they'll stay".

The 38-year-old said her concerns go beyond teacher pay to basic school needs that go unfunded. Rachel Polmanteer, an eighth-grade science teacher at Wake Forest Middle School, said she must work a second job to earn money for her students' lab assignments and other hands-on activities.

Carolynn Phillips, a middle school arts teacher from coastal Brunswick County who was named the county's Teacher of the Year for 2018, called the protest a cry for respect from teachers whose pay ranks toward the bottom of USA states. When adjusted to inflation, teachers in the state make less than they did a decade ago. "It's the children, and we have to have a heart for our children", he said.

Republican legislative leaders have said this year's planned salary increase of 6 percent would mark the fifth consecutive annual increase. They've also called for more school nurses, psychologists, and counselors.

N.C. Association of Educators leaders said they sent emails to legislators to encourage them to attend the rally, if for no other reason than the opportunity to speak to constituents in designated areas identified by county.

"There is usually not this much excitement during the short session, but its good to see this many folks turning out to support education which is critical to our state and critical to our workforce development", said Sec.

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