North Carolina Educators Demand a Better Future

North Carolina teachers march up Fayetteville Street holding signs

Over 20,000 teachers, principals, students, and families from all over North Carolina flooded downtown Raleigh wearing red on May 16, demanding that lawmakers increase teachers’ pay, along with an increase in funding to be able to provide for studentseducational needs.  
I am hoping to see more respect for teachers,said Rebecca Senter, Wake County school teacher. The important change I would like to see is more funding for supplies for our students.
Protesters gathered at the North Carolina Association of Educators building and marched up Fayetteville St. to 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. Some protestors and advocates lined up before the building even opened.
This rally wasn’t just in support of teachers getting an increase in pay. It was about sticking up for all students by wanting things such as better school safety, including more nurses and counselors, increasing the funds allocated per-pupil, bringing back a pay increase for getting a higher degree, and ending corporate tax cuts.  
I hope that lawmakers hear the stories and see the lack of resources, funding, and materials for all students,stated Sara Warren, a Randolph County teacher. The most important thing would be for lawmakers to raise teacher pay to at least the living wage. They advertise that the average pay is $50,000, but most pay raises go to new teachers. Veteran teachers have been skipped over the past several years.
As the march started, teachers were energized and chanting remember, remember we vote in November,while carrying signs, some of which said money cant buy us happiness, but it can buy working technology, books, copiers and copy paper, basic school supplies, teachers and support staff, working AC units and plumbing, a way out of a second job, money to spend on our own children, and a savings for retirement.
Marchers also carried flags and banners, and waved at workers, pedestrians, and students who were supporting and watching the march on the sides of the streets. The protestors made their way to the legislature, and waited in lines that wrapped around the building to get inside and sit in on the opening session of both the House and Senate chambers. With a capacity of 4,000 people, not everyone from the overwhelming crowd could get inside.  
Protesters piled into and outside of the legislature to advocate for more funding, and booed when lawmakers voted to adjourn as the legislative session closed. Once the session closed, teachers had the opportunity to talk with congressional representatives as they welcomed teachers into their offices to express their concerns and opinions.
“I’m hoping that people will see the passion that North Carolina teachers have for their students, who are the future of our state, and vote for change in the amount of funding schools are given,” said Gina Golden, Wake County school teacher. “If we have inspired teachers and parents to vote for the interest of their children and all schools throughout the state, this day of advocacy will have been a success.”
Later on in the afternoon, there was a rally on Halifax Mall that opened with Governor Roy Cooper giving a speech along with other teachers speaking. Throughout the protest and rally, the energy stayed high as everyone came together to demand more school funding and budget adjustments, all in the hopes to provide a better future for students and teachers.
Today was one of the most incredible experiences,stated Kathryn Brooks, a teacher in Wake County.” “I witnessed a passionate community uniting to change the world. Ill never forget the tears we shed when people came out of their offices on Fayetteville Street and just started clapping as we marched today. The signs couldn’t have told our story more beautifully. Our students deserve better.

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