North Carolina teachers demand better funding in large march - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

North Carolina teachers demand better funding in large march

By EMERY P. DALESIO and GARY D. ROBERTSON
Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Thousands of teachers filled the main street of North Carolina's capital Wednesday demanding better pay and more funding for public schools, hoping to achieve what other educators around the country accomplished by pressuring lawmakers for change.

City blocks turned red, the color of shirts worn by marchers chanting "We care! We vote!" and "This is What Democracy Looks Like!" An estimated 19,000 people joined the march, according to the Downtown Raleigh Alliance, which based its number in part on aerial photos.

"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 funds are not keeping up with the growth. We are seeing cutback, after cutback, after cutback."

Many teachers entered the Legislative Building, continuing to chant as the Republican-controlled legislature held short floor meetings to start its annual work session. Most teachers quieted down when asked, but a woman who yelled, "Education is a Right: That is why we have to fight," was among four escorted from the Senate gallery. No arrests were made.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper spoke at a rally across the street, promoting his proposal to pay for higher salaries by blocking tax cuts that Republicans decided to give corporations and high-income households next January. GOP leaders have flatly rejected his idea.

Cooper, who is working to eliminate the GOP's veto-proof majorities in fall elections, urged teachers to ask lawmakers, "are you going to support even more tax cuts for corporations and the very wealthy, or are you going to support much better teacher pay and investment in our public schools?"

Previous strikes, walkouts and protests in West Virginia, Arizona, Kentucky, Colorado and Oklahoma led legislators in each state to improve pay, benefits or overall school funding. Wednesday's march in North Carolina prompted more than three-dozen school districts that educate more than two-thirds of the state's 1.5 million public school students to cancel class.

But these Republican leaders appear determined not to change course under pressure, and North Carolina educators aren't unionized, so they have fewer options for organized protest than teachers in some of these other states. Some, in fact, had to seek personal days off Wednesday and pay $50 for a substitute before districts canceled class.

The demands of their main advocacy group, the North Carolina Association of Educators, include raising per-pupil spending and pay for teachers and support staff to the national average, and increasing school construction to match the state's population growth.

North Carolina teachers earn about $50,000 on average, ranking 39th in the country last year, the National Education Association reported last month. 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, but that still represents a 9.4 percent slide in real income since 2009 due to inflation, the NEA said.

State Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore, both Republicans, have made clear they have no plans to funnel more money to classrooms by postponing January's planned tax cuts, as Cooper has proposed.

And Republican Sen. Bill Cook said he thinks Wednesday's march was mostly about supporting the Democratic Party in a political season.

Republican legislators have focused on increasing pay based on merit, rather than treating all teachers as if they were equally productive, he said.

"A lot of people want to throw money at a problem, and that's helpful some times. But you've got to be smart about what you're doing with your money. What we've tried to do is put it into play in such a way that we reward people for doing a good job," Cook said.

But Rachel Holdridge, a special education teacher at Wilmington's Alderman Elementary School, said lawmakers have let teachers down by failing to equip them properly to do their jobs. Despite 22 years' experience, she said she drives for Uber to make ends meet.

"They keep giving tiny raises and taking so much away from the kids," Holdridge said outside the Legislative Building. She takes a sober view of how much the march will accomplish, but said: "You've got to start somewhere."

Barbara Faulkner, a 38-year-old English teacher at South Granville High School who makes $53,000 per year, said her house went into foreclosure because she had planned for a seniority-based raise plan that was stopped a decade ago.

But she's also concerned about basic school needs going unfunded.

"We have a library but no librarian. You can't check out books," she said. "The collection hasn't been updated. The library is for storage and meetings. The books are on the floor."

___

Associated Press writers Allen G. Breed and Jonathan Drew contributed to this report.

___  

Follow Emery P. Dalesio on Twitter at http://twitter.com/emerydalesio . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/emery%20dalesio

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • North Carolina teachers demand better funding in large marchMore>>

  • National politicsNational politicsMore>>

  • Trump balks at North Korea's rhetoric but it has used worse

    Trump balks at North Korea's rhetoric but it has used worse

    Friday, May 25 2018 2:22 AM EDT2018-05-25 06:22:51 GMT
    Saturday, May 26 2018 6:03 AM EDT2018-05-26 10:03:34 GMT
    A federal judge in New York says President Donald Trump cannot block his critics on Twitter without violating the First Amendment. (Source: CNN)A federal judge in New York says President Donald Trump cannot block his critics on Twitter without violating the First Amendment. (Source: CNN)

    North Korea language was milder than its typical inflammatory, harsh rhetoric but enough for Trump to kill summit.

    More >>

    North Korea language was milder than its typical inflammatory, harsh rhetoric but enough for Trump to kill summit.

    More >>
  • Amid confusion, EU data privacy law goes into effect

    Amid confusion, EU data privacy law goes into effect

    Friday, May 25 2018 5:52 AM EDT2018-05-25 09:52:54 GMT
    Saturday, May 26 2018 6:03 AM EDT2018-05-26 10:03:29 GMT
    (AP Photo/Matt Dunham). The founder and CEO of "My Nametags" Lars Andersen, originally from Norway, poses for photographs by a sheet label "weeding machine" at his business premises in London, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. Starting Friday, May 25, 2018, My ...(AP Photo/Matt Dunham). The founder and CEO of "My Nametags" Lars Andersen, originally from Norway, poses for photographs by a sheet label "weeding machine" at his business premises in London, Wednesday, May 23, 2018. Starting Friday, May 25, 2018, My ...
    Ready or not, companies that collect or process the personal information of EU residents must now start complying with stringent new EU data rules.More >>
    Ready or not, companies that collect or process the personal information of EU residents must now start complying with stringent new EU data rules.More >>
  • Palin's son seeks to bar media in assault proceedings

    Palin's son seeks to bar media in assault proceedings

    Friday, May 25 2018 10:54 PM EDT2018-05-26 02:54:48 GMT
    Saturday, May 26 2018 5:36 AM EDT2018-05-26 09:36:15 GMT
    (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File). FILE - In this Sept. 3, 2008, file photo, Track Palin, son of Sarah Palin, is shown during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. The eldest son of former Republican vice presidential candidate Sara...(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File). FILE - In this Sept. 3, 2008, file photo, Track Palin, son of Sarah Palin, is shown during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. The eldest son of former Republican vice presidential candidate Sara...
    The eldest son of former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is seeking to bar the media from covering court hearings after he was accused of assaulting his father last year.More >>
    The eldest son of former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is seeking to bar the media from covering court hearings after he was accused of assaulting his father last year.More >>
  • NationalMore>>

  • USC president agrees to step down amid gynecologist scandal

    USC president agrees to step down amid gynecologist scandal

    Friday, May 25 2018 9:52 PM EDT2018-05-26 01:52:20 GMT
    Saturday, May 26 2018 5:36 AM EDT2018-05-26 09:36:43 GMT
    The president of the University of Southern California has agreed to step down amid a sex scandal involving a school gynecologist.More >>
    The president of the University of Southern California has agreed to step down amid a sex scandal involving a school gynecologist.More >>
  • Police: Suspected gunman spoke online about demon possession

    Police: Suspected gunman spoke online about demon possession

    Saturday, May 26 2018 4:03 AM EDT2018-05-26 08:03:40 GMT
    Saturday, May 26 2018 5:36 AM EDT2018-05-26 09:36:38 GMT
    (Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman via AP). Police officers stand at the scene of a shooting on the east side of Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City, Thursday, May 24, 2018. A man armed with a pistol walked into Louie’s On The Lake restaurant at the dinner hour and ...(Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman via AP). Police officers stand at the scene of a shooting on the east side of Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City, Thursday, May 24, 2018. A man armed with a pistol walked into Louie’s On The Lake restaurant at the dinner hour and ...
    Authorities say a Facebook page in which a man claims his television is possessed by the devil belongs to the man suspected of shooting three people at an Oklahoma City restaurant before being killed by two armed...More >>
    Authorities say a Facebook page in which a man claims his television is possessed by the devil belongs to the man suspected of shooting three people at an Oklahoma City restaurant before being killed by two armed bystanders.More >>
  • Volcanic ash swamps Hawaii school, turning tennis court gray

    Volcanic ash swamps Hawaii school, turning tennis court gray

    Friday, May 25 2018 2:07 PM EDT2018-05-25 18:07:27 GMT
    Saturday, May 26 2018 5:36 AM EDT2018-05-26 09:36:25 GMT
    (George F. Lee/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP). In this May 23, 2018 photo, lava erupts in the air in Leilani Estates area near Pahoa, Hawaii. The Kilauea volcano has opened more than 20 vents in the ground that have released lava, sulfur dioxide and ...(George F. Lee/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP). In this May 23, 2018 photo, lava erupts in the air in Leilani Estates area near Pahoa, Hawaii. The Kilauea volcano has opened more than 20 vents in the ground that have released lava, sulfur dioxide and ...
    Authorities say an eruption at the summit of a volcano on Hawaii's Big Island has sent an ash cloud about 10,000 feet into the air.More >>
    Authorities say an eruption at the summit of a volcano on Hawaii's Big Island has sent an ash cloud about 10,000 feet into the air.More >>
Powered by Frankly