Dozens of teachers from area join thousands at rally in Raleigh

By on May 16, 2018

The crowd was estimated at 19,000. (Twitter/DowntownRaleigh)

Ally Sarnowski, a senior at Currituck High School, made the trip. (Susan Buzzard)

Teachers by the dozen from northeastern North Carolina, including at least 35 from Currituck County alone, joined thousands of others at a day-long rally outside and inside the General Assembly on opening day of the short session.

“It was powerful. A remarkable day,” one local teacher said.

Dubbed “The Rally For Respect”, teachers, students, parents and others from across the state, many wearing red in a show of unity, braved off-and-on rain showers Wednesday in Raleigh to call on lawmakers to budget more funding for public schools.

So many teachers requested personal days under state guidelines, 42 school systems in North Carolina cancelled classes Wednesday, with three-quarters of the state’s 1.5 million public school students having the day off.

All school districts in the area held classes as usual, and said they would be able to cover for teachers.

Nonetheless, according to some educators who traveled to Raleigh, their school districts discouraged participation in the rally and they took a personal day without pay.

After gathering outside the North Carolina Association of Educators building in downtown, around 19,000 people marched down Fayetteville Street to the steps of the Legislative Building.

Entry to the building was slow because of new security procedures implemented ahead of the short session that began around noon.

Once inside, many headed either to see their individual representatives or to the viewing galleries above the House and Senate chambers.

Inside the House gallery. (Susan Buzzard)

House Speaker Tim Moore took a moment to recognize the educators in attendance that garnered a standing ovations from the members including a number who were also dressed in #RedForEd.

But throughout the 30-minute long administrative session, chants from outside the viewing gallery could be heard throughout the chamber.

Some local legislators were in their offices to greet those who stopped by to speak with them.

“We met with…Rep. Steinburg for 45 minutes,” one of the local teachers said. “An interesting conversation about vouchers and other foolishness.”

Others touted the work they had done in improving teacher pay.

Sen. Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, told reporters the rally was more about generating support for Democrats in the November election, and that N.C. teachers are caught up in a national movement after protests in West Virginia and other states.

House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate Leader Phil Berger on Tuesday said they plan to pass a fifth consecutive pay raise averaging 6.2 percent in the coming fiscal year budget.

But they balked at Gov. Roy Cooper’s proposal to freeze planned cuts to the corporate and individual income tax rates to free up sn extra $110 million for schools, WRAL-TV reported.

Cooper was the opening speaker at a closing rally Wednesday afternoon.

“We trust our teachers,” he said. “And we need to put our money where our trust is. The veteran teachers have been left out by this legislature and we know veteran teachers are critical.”

Photos and videos were shared with The Outer Banks Voice from locals in attendance. We’ll be adding more as well as other reactions to the rally. Kip Tabb contributed to this story.

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  • Neil B. (Republicain)

    The only comment Mr Cook can come up with is this is about parties. He is so out of touch with the real world. He talks about money in percentages. It’s easy to make percentages look good when one start at 49th. I don’t care if the guy running against him is in the howdy dowdy party. I will NEVER vote for him again. He lost me at wind turbines. How much did he make off that. I beat it could have helped with the education budget. Not to mention the ash clean up bills. No instead my kids get field trips canceled all the time and over had the teachers’ aids get fired. Tens of thousands of people are telling him they are tired of a professional going to school and mastering their craft to make 35k a year, and out of that they must buy supplies, or beg already strapped families to assist. I guess Mr. Cook is right. Let’s clean out all of Raleigh, North Carolina this November. While we do that let’s clean out DC. It is time someone starts listening to what is going on in the real world.

    Wednesday, May 16 @ 10:00 pm
  • David

    Neil. You are correct about Cook but he is retiring and not running in 2018. He is a lame duck now til November just like Boswell.

    Thursday, May 17 @ 9:54 am
  • It's really simple

    Those who can’t do….teach.

    Neil B: If you are a true Republican, learn how to spell Republican (or run spell check).

    There’s an overabundance of teachers, thus wages stay low (law of supply and demand). In addition, if you take the $35k and normalize it into an annual wage (given they are off 3 months of the year), that comes out to $47k annually (with benefits). BTW…$35k starting salary is a fair starting salary for a non science or technology degree holding individual.

    If the school systems would move to year round schools, I would absolutely support a pay raise to that normalized level.

    Thursday, May 17 @ 11:24 am
  • Retired Teacher

    It’s Really Simple…it’s plain to see you are really clueless! When is the last time you taught school?

    Friday, May 18 @ 5:56 am
  • Really?

    One doesn’t have to be a teacher to understand greed.
    1) No one is forced to become a teacher
    2) A teacher getting hired knows exactly what their salary is going to be therefore to complain after the fact is simply greed at its most basic form.
    @It’s really simple, you are correct, teachers want more yet they already do less than the rest of the working world. Sick of hearing how much teachers care about the kids, when really the level of care has a price tag attached to it. They should be protesting being replaced by foreign teachers teaching spanish. But they are more concerned with how much money their going to make

    Friday, May 18 @ 8:25 am
  • dave

    All the people who gripe about teachers saying how good they have it are clueless. Teachers teach because they WANT to!! If they have it so good and its so easy, why don’t you anti-teachers go become one? Oh! I know ! Because you aren’t/weren’t smart enough to make it thru four years of college and maintain the required gpa; thats why!

    Friday, May 18 @ 8:34 am
  • Spoony Rae

    How come we never have a rally for the children, now I’m not talking about the gun control group or other left wing groups. I am genuinely talking about the education our children are getting or not getting after 12 years, we have allowed the Department of education take over our schools to the point of no return.

    Friday, May 18 @ 12:38 pm
  • mike honcho

    And we cant get anyone to want to be a cop anymore. But nobody is marching for more pay for them.

    Friday, May 18 @ 5:30 pm
  • Michael

    Good point Mike. BTW teachers should make more. Period

    Friday, May 18 @ 9:30 pm
  • Crazy

    How bout we take a cut from welfare checks and add that to teachers pay.

    Saturday, May 19 @ 7:10 am
  • It's really simple


    BTW…Engineering degree w/ a MBA. Thank you very much.

    Just because you WANT to do something, doesn’t mean you should get what you WANT in terms of salary. College professors make much more money BECAUSE they aspire to do more than teach children. Principals make more money than teachers because they CHOSE to accept more responsibility. Fast Food managers make more than the burger flippers because they CHOSE to accept more responsibility.

    Saturday, May 19 @ 9:22 am
  • mike honcho

    Teachers have become an elitel class of state employee in nc. All other state employees are second class citizens next to teachers. They make plenty and have the summer and every holiday and weekend off.

    Sunday, May 20 @ 5:37 pm
  • Forbes Kennedy

    Look, I just went through this charade in WV, where my primary residence is located. Yes, teachers are paid poorly relative to the job they do. However, they receive nice perks which the normal working person with a Bachelor’s degree does not earn:
    1. Work from August to late May/early June. Two months off.
    2. Full 10 day vacation during Christmas.
    3. Pension enabling them to retire at 52 if they begin work at 22 yoa.
    4. Job security: rarely will one be laid off.
    5. Low accountability: it is well documented that bad teachers retain jobs and, at worst, might be moved to another school within the district.
    6. Oops, forgot spring break, too!

    Now, here in WV, the teachers went on strike for nine days! The funny thing about teachers is this: they universally embrace technology to make their jobs easier. My daughter brings home assignments that are pulled from popular websites, and the teachers leave the web address along the bottom of the page. Guess what the students do…they look up the answers and share them.

    I say this to the NEA and AFT…Guess what this dependency on the internet and common core is going to do in the next two decades. Yep, entice cash-strapped counties to look for ways to automate teaching. With your BAs and MAs in education, you’re effectively “tech-ing” yourselves out of a job. You should be protesting the increase in technology and common core with walkout tactics…that is where the real danger to your profession lurks.

    Anyway, back to West Virginia…The teachers got their five percent raise. My daughter still comes home with misspellings in here assignments from teachers, canned and internet-based worksheets, and apathy from the educators. Oh, and one week after the teachers returned to school, the school principal was terminated for lying in a school-related court case.

    Final gem from here in the Mountain State: Recent school board minutes stated that the 2018-2019 school year will move teacher “professional development days” from Fridays to Tuesdays. So, kids will be off in the middle of the week so teachers can up their game with in-service training. Why the change? When the district schedules the training on a day before a weekend, few teachers show up. They take a “sick” day (hey, they have it coming to them, right?).

    Gubmint education! Ya’ gotta love it.

    Monday, May 21 @ 8:53 am
  • Forbes Kennedy

    Oops sorry…paragraph #4 should be “her” and not “here.” Cobbler has fixed his shoes!

    Monday, May 21 @ 8:55 am