"We've been fighting in North Carolina for the last 10 years against the dismantling of our public schools", says President Bryan Proffitt.
Tammy Sawyer, a spokeswoman for the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools, indicated a few teachers from the district are planning to attend the rally, but ECPPS officials aren't expecting any disruption to the school day.
(We estimate that Kershaw County has lost about $80 million - yes, $80 million - in state funding during this period.) This means that teachers are lacking instructional materials and other critical classroom needs, and schools and districts are lacking programs and services they need to meet the wide range of needs of an increasingly diverse student population.
Sabrina Peacock: This is my 24th year of teaching in Guilford County Schools. Organizers are calling it "March for Students and Rally for Respect". We've done these things over and over and over again.
Legislators, now is the time to adjust spending on education.
Several North Carolina school systems are shut down for the day, because of the number of teachers who have requested off to attend. Arizona and West Virginia teachers recently went on strike and succeeded in getting some of their demands met. "The [National Education Association] just ranked us a year ago as the No. 1 state in the country for teacher wage growth", Moore says. The protest, along with one by SC teachers on Saturday, is part of a nationwide revolt by educators against the bipartisan war on public education and school workers. This is a day that teachers are really advocating for what we really need for our students, as well as for ourselves. The demonstration, which will take place in the state capital, coincides with the General Assembly's first day back into session. This is not just about school staff.
Peacock: I think it has something to do with it. An ordinary advocacy day where teachers sit down with the lawmakers who represent them, shake hands and plead their case would stand a far greater chance of making inroads. "I'm not asking for everything all at once, but I do want to look down the road and feel that I'm progressing towards a better life", he adds. North Carolina remains a purple state, and education policies need buy-in on both sides of the aisle in order to survive the Republican-led legislature's bill graveyard and the Democratic governor's veto stamp. Almost 7,500 teachers' assistant positions have been cut in the last decade, participants argue, and nearly a quarter of the state's kids live in poverty.
Education and health care workers, McAlevey says, have an advantage over the factory workers of previous generations when it comes to building a broader political and social movement. Wake said teachers who don't report to work Wednesday have to use leave time or a personal day or they won't get paid.
Build rank-and-file committees! Prepare a nationwide strike to defend public education!
Tamika Walker Kelly is one of those teachers who's ready to fight.
The national average teacher pay this year is $60,483, according to National Education Association. Lyde says she hasn't seen a raise in years.
"Before then, less than 5 percent of teachers belonged to a union", she explains. They're planning to go to the May 16 protest in Raleigh together, along with at least 400 other teachers in the county and numerous parents and community supporters. I have been very inspired by teachers across the country who have staged walkouts.
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