Thousands March On Raleigh Demanding Lawmakers Raise Teacher Pay And Education Spending

RALEIGH, NC — Hundreds of Charlotte teachers are back home after joining thousands of educators who marched in Raleigh to demand lawmakers do more to raise teacher pay and education spending.

It was a sea of red in Raleigh Wednesday, and the tide of teachers rolled down to the capitol as thousands marched for the cause. 42 school districts across the state closed.

Many of us know a teacher, and we know that they often work a second or third job to get by. Many pay for resources their students need out of their own pockets.

That’s why the more than 20,000 participating today wanted to make sure people know the rally was about more than just increasing teacher pay.

CMS teacher, Steve Oreskovic says, “They need to fully fund public education. Not just teacher raises. It needs to be in the classrooms. It needs to be teacher assistants. It needs to be everything.”

The focus in Raleigh has been pushed to teacher pay however, since North Carolina ranked 48th in the nation in that area a few years ago.

The general assembly has increased teacher pay the last few years, and vows to do so again in the next budget.

The state now ranks 37th, but educators say that’s not enough.

Justin Parmenter, a teacher with CMS says, “We given them all these raises. They need to quit whining. It’s easy to avoid talking about the things like classroom supplies that we don’t have.”

“It’s about teachers having the resources that they need to support the children that they love,” says east Charlotte resident Jennifer Born. “Because nobody teaches for the money.”

Teachers packed the capitol building as the general assembly opened a short session. They also met with their local lawmakers, and held a rally for respect.

Gov. Roy Cooper spoke at the march today saying, “I am honored to stand with you North Carolina teachers. Stand with you each and every day.”

Mecklenburg County lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say recent GOP budgets have helped increase salaries for newer teachers, but the experienced educators are being left behind.

Rep. John Autry, (D) Mecklenburg, says, “Whenever the folks in this building like to brag about all they’ve done for teachers, they’re not doing for it for the most experienced, and the ones with the highest levels of their degrees.”

“We recognize we haven’t been taking care of the veteran teachers and those are someone, and a group of folks, were going to have to start paying some attention to,” says Sen. Jeff Tarte, (R) Mecklenburg.

Estimates are that more than 20,000 people marched in Raleigh today.

The educators who came out were a little blown away by the size and scope of it all. They say this is the beginning of six months of action that will all lead to election day in November.