Local rally held for those who couldn't go to Raleigh

Credit KSDK

Credit KSDK

Education advocates say there needs to be a shift in the public's perception of teachers.

The teacher walkout led some of the largest school districts in North Carolina to close.

Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, has called for an 8 percent raise, with additional raises for teachers with more than 25 years of experience.

Jameel Williams was among the thousands from across the state to march from the NCAE headquarters to the North Carolina State Legislative Building.

Jared Speight, a social studies teacher at North Stanly High School who participated in Wednesday's march, said straightforwardly that his students are being "failed" by the amount of funding the state's schools receive.

"I think North Carolina's students, like all students in America, deserve an equitable education regardless of their ZIP Code", he said.

"It's become a struggle every day when you don't have what you need to be able to equip these young folks with what they need", William Powell, a middle school teacher in Raleigh, told ABC station WTVD-TV as he and scores of other educators marched down Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh. The teachers walked from the North Carolina Association of Educators office to the North Carolina State Legislative Building. Currently, the average teacher pay in N.C.is just over $51,000 annually, plus available bonuses based on student performance and bonuses for STEM teachers, and approximately $16,000 in benefits.

North Carolina teachers on Wednesday joined the fight for funding teachers have been waging across the country.

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Personally Myers has made choices about paying student loans or buying poster board for a student's class project.

New teachers in SC bring home a little more than $33,057, both are below the national average. Three of the state's largest school districts are closed as a result of teachers leaving school, including Wake County Public School System, which has 160,000 students, according to the Associated Press.

This peaceful rally comes on the heels of other protests by teachers hoping for better pay and resources in the classroom. "We are - in some cases - the only positive encounters for these kids, and we have to spend money out of our pockets to do so". So regardless of the party affiliation, what we are seeing from this movement is that citizens love their public schools. The Republican-dominated legislature should expand Medicaid coverage so students and their families stay healthy, and cancel corporate tax cuts until school spending is increased, Jewell said.

She said she had been personally affected by changes to seniority pay that made her no longer eligible for annual raises.

The website also stipulates five demands from elected leaders, including an increase in per-pupil spending, a "multi-year professional pay plan" for teachers, an increased number of mental and physical health professionals in schools, and moderated class sizes.

"We have no intention of raising taxes", Berger said. Their pay increased by 4.2 percent over the previous year - the second-biggest increase in the country - and was estimated to rise an average 1.8 percent this year, the NEA said. They've had some salary increases in recent years, but when adjusted for inflation, they've lost 9.4% in pay since 2009.

Jewell said teachers don't really expect GOP lawmakers to meet all their demands, which is why they are also urging voters to not re-elect them. They've also called for more school nurses, psychologists, and counselors. Instead, she said she was mostly at the rally to support educators like the ones who teach her children.

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