Gov. Cooper shows support of teachers during Raleigh rally

Credit KSDK

Credit KSDK

Rebecca LaMaire, an art teacher at Holt Elementary in Durham, is concerned about the future of teaching as a profession, and what that means for students.

"It's historic to me", Jones said.

Cooper's proposed budget calls for an 8 percent average pay rise for teachers and for a $2 billion bond issue for school construction to be put on the ballot. They deserve professionally paid educators.

"I think it's about time", she said of the demonstration.

The march took place on the first day of the General Assembly's short session.

"They have hard jobs and they deserve our respect and support" that he said goes beyond what the legislature can provide in funding to community and employer resources.

"You look at 35 kids in a 90 minute block, that's less than 3 minutes a kid", she says.

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The Downtown Raleigh Alliance, a nonprofit tourism and business lobbying group, estimated there were 19,000 people, representing the largest act of organized political action in state history.

"I see students every day that can't afford clothes, lunch, etc...and I am the one buying it for them, along with several other fellow teachers", he said.

This peaceful rally comes on the heels of other protests by teachers hoping for better pay and resources in the classroom.

Pierce also spoke with educators. "North Carolina had this reputation as a Southern state that was very progressive, we would go back that if we funded our schools", said Burton. Teachers believe North Carolina can do better. "It's not, and shouldn't be, a partisan issue. All eyes on North Carolina".

"Although there is discussion of wages and salary, the real concern is for our children", Pennington said. Complete coverage of Wednesday's teachers rally " A 6.2 percent (teacher salary) increase (this year)", House Speaker Tim Moore told ABC 11 on Wednesday in defense of GOP education priorities. The signs couldn't have told our story more beautifully. She makes sure students who can't see the chalkboard get glasses, and she maintains a food pantry and a clothing closet for children in need.

"The proof will be in the pudding".

For Christine Gilmore, a fourth-grade teacher from Jones Elementary School in Wilson, it was a wish list for teacher assistance for kindergarten through third grade, school nurses five days a week, updated textbooks and less testing.

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"There were thousands and thousands of teachers". A teacher from New Hanover County complained, "They've taken three dead rats out of my classroom".

Later on in the afternoon, there was a rally on Halifax Mall that opened with Governor Roy Cooper giving a speech along with other teachers speaking. Prior to the strike, Davis hadn't gone to a protest, but after speaking with her mother, who went on strike as a teacher in Colorado, Davis made a decision to join the growing movement.

Letchworth said that being a math teacher, she knows that there is power in numbers. "Yes, it was about pay, but so much more". "I raised money for it through Donors Choose".

"This has to be a bipartisan effort to fix our educational problems, and you can't convince me there are not Republican-leaning teachers who feel the same way as Democratic-leaning teachers on this subject".

Many teachers entered the Legislative Building, continuing to chant as the Republican-controlled legislature held meetings to start its annual work session.

"A lot of times teachers are quiet", explains Guilford County Schools teacher Marci Matchett.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper spoke at a rally across the street, promoting his proposal to pay for higher salaries by blocking tax cuts that Republicans chose to give corporations and high-income households next January. GOP leaders have flatly rejected his idea. "We talked about children who have special needs".

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For some, this is not impacting their daily lives, as people continue to play golf (see below). "They said they slept through it". Fenix Grange of the state Department of Health said 10 new air quality monitors have been installed "circling the rift areas".

"I've been thinking a lot about someone else who would have been here today - my mom", he said.

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