North Carolina just found themselves in turmoil as thousands of teachers poured out of the classrooms and down the streets of Raleigh where they marched their way to the General Assembly for the state. This is another in a series of teachers from red states demanding changes in the way the public school system is run.
Believed to be one of the biggest in the history of North Carolina, this demonstration created a sea of educators donned in red crowding onto the streets outside the state’s capitol as well as the galleries where the assembly meeting was held. Once inside, the educators let their demands be known, requesting higher funding for all public schools in the state as well as pay raises for all school staffers. The largest school district in the state quickly became aware the lack of teachers would make it impossible to run classes as usual and was forced to shut the doors which left roughly a million students with no school for nine whole days.
The reason behind these coordinated protests was due to a cut in funding for North Carolina public schools. The state cut taxes which in turn cut the money allotted per school per student as well as a pay cut for teachers. This cut dropped teacher pay for the state well behind the United States average teacher pay. North Carolina Association of Educators, the group responsible for coordinating the protests, announced their belief that both teachers and students deserved far better than the state was giving them. Their demands were simple and to the point, the state should fix the allocated spending per student and within four years restore teacher pay back to that of the national average. Along with those requests, they also asked for an additional 500 staff members in the form of school nurses and counselors.
These teacher walkouts have been ongoing for months. In late February teachers shut down schools for nine days in West Virginia. Following their success, Kentucky, Arizona and Oklahoma teachers followed their lead and walked out in protest heading to their capitols demanding more funding. For more detailed information on the walkouts and the reasons behind them, click here.