Buncombe County and Asheville City Schools closed ahead of teacher rally

Buncombe County and Asheville City Schools closed ahead of teacher rally

Thousands are downtown wearing red in an effort to get lawmakers to hear their voices. He set up a camera along the route near the Old Capitol to make a time lapse photo of the march.

Powell said he is about to retire after working 32 years as a teacher in Raleigh.

Officials in about 40 North Carolina school districts - including some of the state's largest - chose to close schools because of the one-day rally.

Indeed, teachers have won popular support for their cause as polls in states where teachers have gone on strike have shows the public solidly behind them. Their pay increased by 4.2 percent over the previous year - the second-biggest increase in the country.

They've had some salary increases in recent years, but when adjusted for inflation, they've lost 9.4% in pay since 2009.

But with the Great Recession history and the state's financial stability restored, teachers say it's time to catch up on deferred school spending. "If I've learned anything, teachers don't teach for incomes, teachers teach for outcomes".

"We need people to judge us on what we've done", Woodhouse said of Republicans. Teachers who started their careers 20-plus years ago might be more likely see a job action as betraying their students.

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"This is not just about teachers".

"I would really challenge any lawmaker to argue the fact that at this point, after so many cuts over so many years, that they could really make any kind of claim that they're helping public education", she said.

Lee Irvin of Cary said he's sympathetic to the teachers' demands, if not their method, which is forcing the software engineer and his wife to work from home on Wednesday.

At least 38 school districts in the state, including Alexander County, Iredell-Statesville and Hickory, canceled classes Wednesday due to teacher absences. "I think they're entitled to that". But not during school hours.

Berger says the difference is an average of $8,600 - or a 19-percent increase - compared to the 2013-14 school year.

Jayne Jennings has been a teacher in Henderson County for more than a decade.

Irvin said he thinks his children are receiving a lackluster education. That new teachers are burned out because they don't have a mentor in their practice, and they don't have support? Yet North Carolina teacher pay-which averages out just above $50,000, including local supplements and benefits- remains almost $10,000 below the national average and ranks 39th in the nation.

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"After taking over from Democratic leadership that furloughed teachers and froze their salaries, Republicans in the General Assembly made a promise to dramatically raise teacher pay in North Carolina - and we've kept our promise", the statement said.

Build rank-and-file committees! Prepare a nationwide strike to defend public education!

"Over the past 15 years I have spent not only as an educator but also as the parent of school-age children, we have seen our state's investment in our children dwindle", Baker said.

North Carolina's starting teacher salary was increased in recent years, but Bellerose said when other funding cuts and things like longevity pay are considered, the state has taken a major step backwards.

Their demands are also political.

With so many teachers out of the classroom, hundreds of schools will be closed to students Wednesday.

Already, as some press attention from the initial strikes fades away, some GOP state legislators are moving back to roll back wages. It is a sad reality that enrollment in education programs at our colleges and universities is at an all-time low.

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The rally is meant to be a kickoff for a campaign to get more candidates who support public education elected to the statehouse in November, when every seat in the state House and Senate is up for grabs.

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