Teachers Rally in Downtown Raleigh
As you have probably noticed, there was a statewide “Teachers Walk” that occured in Downtown Raleigh on May 16, 2018. Expected to walk were about 15,000 teachers from over three dozen school districts in North Carolina. The teachers began the walk at 700 S. Salisbury St. at approximately ten a.m. Teachers took to the sidewalks and walked up Fayetteville Street to the State Capitol Building and down Bicentennial Plaza to the Legislative Building. This walk lasted until around eleven a.m. From eleven a.m to three p.m the teachers decided to lobby the lawmakers before the General Assembly Session.
Since the 2008 recession, North Carolina followed in the footsteps of many other states and cut public funding tremendously. Since the recession, funding has dropped by twenty-four percent for school bus replacement, thirty-eight percent for textbooks, forty-five percent for school technology and fifty-four percent for school supplies. Class sizes have also been exploding; in my English II Honors class last semester, there were an astounding forty-one students. This can lower the quality of learning for the students and makes it much harder for the teacher to teach in public schools. Teachers have begun to lose an incentive to stay at these North Carolina based schools, and many are moving to states with better benefits.
Many teachers at Apex decided to walk this year. Among others, this includes Coach Moog, Ms. FB, Mrs. Nobles, Mrs. Piper, Mrs. Ivy and Mr. Ferguson. This was an important stride for teachers because it shows that in this generation that protesting can be a civil way to get what you need.
There has been some backlash on this rally, saying that this could be considered a “union,” and worker unions are not allowed in North Carolina. There is a State Representative from Anson and Union county that has been receiving a very adverse reaction on a tweet he put out. This tweet said, “”Let’s call this what it is, Teacher Union thugs want to control the education process! I am speaking up because I don’t want Union County schools, and for that matter all NC school systems, to turn into Chicago. Let the Union thugs get their way now and we are halfway there.” This man says that our teachers should be grateful for what they are receiving from the state, even though North Carolina is thirty-seventh in the country for teacher pay and thirty-ninth for per-pupil spending.
Hopefully, this recent rally will convince lawmakers that in order to keep our wonderful teachers with us, we need to change. This starts with higher pay with benefits for our teachers, as well as improving the quality of learning in our state now.