Triad schools close for teacher rally

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

The national average public school teacher salary was $58,353. Many teachers who talked with WFMY News 2 say the way lawmakers react to the rally and what they do for education will be top of mind come election time in November. Don Davis, D-Pitt.

Among them was Lisa Godwin, the state's 2017 teacher of the year.

"You can't have a strong economy and attract employers with good-paying jobs without a well-educated workforce continuously coming from a pipeline of our students", Davis said.

"We'd all rather be teaching today".

That illustrates legislative leaders' advantage in being able to out wait public opposition, even with state budget amendment negotiations in full swing and the expressed hope of ending the session by the Fourth of July.

Posters in hand, the group took their campaign to the streets with a march to Pack Square.

The lack of trust in public statements from both sides was evident.

Teachers in North Carolina participated in an advocacy day outside of the state legislature on Wednesday.

"It's personal", said the 48-year-old African American teacher Michelle Burton, a librarian in the Durham county school system, as she stood next to a marching band playing the Star Wars theme under a banner that said Education Strikes Back. Shanna Darwish ('98) is an NC State alum who teaches at Al-Iman School, a private school in Raleigh.

"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.

Several teachers and Democratic legislators openly scoffed at the website as a reliable source.

According to the National Education Association, North Carolina teachers ranked 39th in average teacher pay past year, with an average salary of $49,970.

Demanding respect, thousands of teachers and students swarm North Carolina capital
North Carolina teachers converge on state capitol demanding pay raise, better resources

Protesters gathered at the North Carolina Association of Educators building and marched up Fayetteville the General Assembly where lawmakers had their opening session, while other advocates went ahead and lined up at the General Assembly to make sure they got in. While she took a sober view of whether the rally would change policy, she said: "You've got to start somewhere".

"I enjoyed trying to be a part of his education", she said.

Education should not be a partisan issue, he said. "And if she were still on this earth, you better believe she'd have that red dress of hers on and she would be here fighting for her kids". An estimated 1 million students were affected by school closures.

"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.

Conrad said she had supported public-school education her whole life.

Kristin Lundberg, a teacher at Rocky Mount High School, was among the contingent of Nash-Rocky Mount teachers on hand for the rally.

Schools across the state were closed Wednesday morning as thousands of teachers walked out to attend the rally, Today reported.

"I just don't support the method". They are vital pieces to our community and so that's why we are here.

"They keep giving tiny raises and taking so much away from the kids", Holdridge said outside the Legislative Building.

They want the state to invest more money into the state per pupil expenditure.

She, too, said she marched for the children.

State Sen. Paul Lowe, D-Forsyth, said he was moved by hearing another round of teacher stories, those from Forsyth and across North Carolina. "But our jobs are becoming more hard". "Like counselors and other support they really need to succeed in the classroom". Gov. Cooper had some very inspirational words and was honest in his efforts to address teacher's concerns. "We need more resources and we need more money".

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