On May 1st, 2019, roughly 32 school systems and 4 charter schools closed in North Carolina. Why you may ask? Well, the N.C. Association of Educators organized a rally. The rally was for the teachers of North Carolina to be able to stand up for school budgets. Last year the school systems had a very similar rally. The rally attracted at least 20,000 people and 42 out of the 115 school districts in the state closed so that their teachers could attend the rally. The main points of the day are the arrival, the march to the general assembly, the rally, the legislative visit, and the bus pick-up.
This rally happened because on April 28 2019, the state house education budget papers were released. As you may have guessed many teachers and school attendees disagreed with what was in the budget. One of my school teachers, Miss Forsythe, attended the rally that happened in Asheville. When I asked her why she went, this was her response. “I have gone to the rally for the past two years because I believe that North Carolina should value education more than it does. This includes paying teachers a competitive salary so that they are not leaving of the state, and funding schools properly so that students can have everything they need like mental health services, supplies, and up to date resources.” Also many teachers and attendees of schools that weren’t canceled also had rally’s in their own cities, Asheville is one of those examples.
Many teachers went because they disagreed with the budgets, but for what reasons? The NC superintendent’s letter stated that the new average teachers salary was now $54,000 per school year, though the most a teacher can make currently in NC is just above 52,000 per year with 25+ years of experience. Many teachers think that people with higher degrees should get a higher pay, which was one of the rally’s demands. Some also wanted to expand medicare for the teachers and students. Some people did oppose the rally though, people like Senate President Phil Berger and State Superintendent Mark Johnson. Mark Johnson asked that teachers took action while school was not in session but the teachers didn’t take no for an answer. The teachers rallied up in Raleigh and protested for a better budget. As of now no official changes have been made to the budget.
Story by Hadley Wallace