Remember the big teacher march and rally last May that brought more than 19,000 educators to downtown Raleigh to demand better pay and increased funding for public schools?
Round 2 is planned for May 1.
“We think it’s going to be bigger than last year,” said Mark Jewell, president of the N.C. Association of Educators.
Jewell said teacher demands center on five items this year:
- Additional funding to adequately staff schools with psychologists, social worker, nurses and librarians.
- Restoration of extra pay for advanced degrees.
- Increasing the minimum wage for all school personnel to $15 an hour and a 5 percent cost of living raise for school employees and retirees.
- Expansion of Medicaid to improve the health of students and their families.
- Restoration of retiree health benefits for teachers hired after 2021.
“All of the things we marched for last year are not being addressed by the General Assembly,” Jewell said. “It’s time for us during this long session to remind them [lawmakers] that education still needs to be a priority.”
Jewell asked teachers to take a personal day May 1 to come to Raleigh for a day of action around K-12 issues. He made the request during the NCAE’s annual convention, which took place in Raleigh March 22-23.
Here’s what Jewell told educators during the convention:
“I’m sad to say, we still have enemies on Jones Street; we’re fighting even now, for a budget that will prioritize student resources, educator pay and school safety, Some people still stand in the way of those basic, fundamental values. So, it’s time we paid them another visit. Just in case they need a reminder that we’re still here, and they still have a job to do.”
Throughout the weekend, news about the May 1 event was posted on social media sites
Dov Rosenberg, a NCAE member who teaches in Durham Public Schools made this Facebook post:
“BIG NEWS: Teachers across NC, pls take a personal day & join us in Raleigh on May 1!”
When asked about the post, Rosenberg said: “We are asking superintendents across our state to close schools on May 1 so educators and parents can converge on Raleigh to remind legislators to fund class size reductions, teacher assistants, master’s degree pay, Teaching Fellows, and an across the board, 5 percent pay raise.”
Julio Morales, the North Carolina director for the National Education Association, also posted news about the event on his Facebook page.
The NCAE is the state’s largest education advocacy organization for public school employees, and represents active, retired, and student members.
This story was updated March 25.