May 22, 2018

North Carolina: Teachers 'Raleigh' for Salary Increase

16 May 2018, 02:23 | Opal Carroll

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

H10 teacher strike

Several North Carolina school systems are shut down for the day, because of the number of teachers who have requested off to attend.

Their demands are also political.

According to a recent report by the National Education Association, North Carolina teachers now make an average of $49,970 a year - placing them 39th in the country in terms of average teacher salary for 2017. It was not immediately clear if the 4% supplement the county pays teachers was included in that average. Like other hot-spot states, North Carolina saw increases in various support categories, with the biggest percentage increase in "other support", which grew 50 percent.

"I am lucky to have a spouse who makes a good salary, which allows me to remain in the classroom doing the work I love".

Some teachers in Caldwell County are heading to Raleigh on Wednesday to march for better funding for public education, but not enough are going to force local officials to cancel school for the day.

"They announced the decision on Tuesday, and I immediately started getting some phone calls from teachers and parents asking me about it and complaining about it", Davis said. "This is my 37th year", said Erlene Lyde.

"We're grossly underfunding our schools", he said.

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During the rally, teachers from around the state plan to lobby the legislature for what they say are desperately needed new state dollars for underfunded school systems.

Danis believes this rally on Wednesday is only the beginning of the conversation that goes beyond teacher pay.

North Carolina teachers earn an average salary of about $50,000, ranking them 39th in the country a year ago, the National Education Association reported last month.

Over 44,000 N.C. teachers - nearly half the state's educators - have received at least a $10,000 raise since 2014. It basically kept dropping until the a year ago in the period. It ranks 39th in the nation, according to the NEA report. I feel uncomfortable. I shouldn't feel uncomfortable saying that teachers should be paid more.

It's no secret that school officials across the state would like to see N.C. lawmakers find more money for teachers.

Last week, teachers-to-be WinnieHope Mamboleo and Cristina Chase Lane marched across the graduation stage at North Carolina State University. It's a Tar Heel tradition for many trade groups to invite members to Raleigh at least once a year for meetings with state lawmakers. Turning an advocacy day into a protest march may have the opposite effect, driving a wedge between teachers and legislators. Police estimate that roughly 1,000 people attended a rally late Monday afternoon behind the Legislative Building on Halifax Mall.

Look for Policy Watch coverage throughout the day Wednesday.

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