The Latest: North Carolina teacher march kicks off
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on a rally by thousands of teachers in North Carolina (all times local):
A wave of red is moving through North Carolina’s capital city as teachers march to lobby conservative lawmakers for more resources.
The march kicked off Wednesday morning in Raleigh with scores of teachers setting out on foot, many carrying signs and most wearing red t-shirts.
Their chants included “We care! We vote!” and “This is What Democracy Looks Like!”
As many as 15,000 educators from around the state were expected to participate.
Bill Notarnicola teaches television and video production at Enloe Magnet High School in Raleigh. He set up a camera along the route near the Old Capitol to make a time lapse photo of the march. After the group passes, he plans to join the crowd for the end of the march and a rally planned for the afternoon.
He said: “As we’re growing, the funds are not keeping up with the growth.”
North Carolina teachers gathering for a rally to demand better resources from lawmakers say they’re stretched thin.
Ahead of the march on Wednesday, downtown blocks filled with teachers wearing red, and chants could be heard.
At the Legislative Building, where an afternoon rally was scheduled following the march, some teachers had already come inside to lobby their legislators.
Rachel Holdridge is a special education teacher at Wilmington’s Alderman Elementary School. She says she drives for Uber to make ends meet despite working in education for 22 years. She said lawmakers and state government have let teachers down by failing to equip them properly to do their job.
Holdridge said: “They keep giving tiny raises and taking so much away from the kids.”
Tiffany Pfouts, an arts teacher at Mills Park Middle School in Cary, said simple needs such as building repairs at her school have been neglected.
Thousands of teachers wearing red are gathering ahead of a march through downtown Raleigh to demand more resources from North Carolina lawmakers.
Clusters of teachers were gathering ahead of the march Wednesday morning at meeting spots to carpool downtown for the start of the march at 10:30 a.m. Marchers were traveling to the capital city from around the state.
Tracy Brumble, a teacher at Milbrook Magnet Elementary School in Raleigh, was with about a dozen fellow teachers at the school waiting for a bus to carry them to the march’s starting point Wednesday. They were all wearing red t-shirts, matching the color of the #RedForEd theme of the day.
Brumble said the group wants lawmakers to know they need more funds for building upkeep, textbooks and student resources. She says the goal is “a better environment for public education.”
Thousands of teachers are set to hit the streets of North Carolina’s capital, bidding to force a political showdown over wages and funding for public school classrooms in this conservative, tax-cutting state.
As many as 15,000 teachers are expected to gather Wednesday morning in Raleigh as the Republican-dominated state legislature begins its annual session. More than three dozen school districts that educate more than two-thirds of the state’s 1.5 million public school students will close classrooms.
North Carolina’s main teachers’ advocacy group favors Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s proposal to raise salaries by delaying planned tax cuts. Republican legislative leaders say that’s not going to happen.
Previous strikes, walkouts and protests in West Virginia, Arizona, Kentucky, Colorado and Oklahoma have led legislators in each state to improve pay, benefits or overall school funding.