As educators in red states across the country go on strike, North Carolina’s teachers are planning to take action of their own. The state’s teachers’ union is planning an advocacy day in Raleigh next month when the General Assembly reconvenes.
The latest National Education Association report on average teacher salaries ranks North Carolina 41 in the country for teacher pay. Since that report, state lawmakers have given some teachers a slight raise, but North Carolina Association of Educators’ President Mark Jewell says it’s not enough.
“Those have been haphazardly administered and most of our veteran teachers haven’t received raises at the top of the salary schedule since the recession in 2008," Jewell said. "Our support professionals – that’s our bus drivers and teacher assistants – they haven’t really seen any significant raise since 2008.”
At next month’s teacher advocacy day, teachers will call on state lawmakers to raise salaries for all public school employees, but their demands will extend beyond pay increases, Jewell said.
“We are the ninth largest school system in the country, yet we rank 43rd in funding in per pupil expenditures. We’re $3,000 below the national average. We haven’t had a textbook adoption since 2005. Technology is still out of date and incomplete. We’re well below our funding levels prior to the recession in 2008 and we have 90,000 more students than we did then," Jewell said. "So, we’re not doing right by our students in North Carolina, and it’s time for us to rise up and tell the General Assembly that we’ve had enough.”
The demonstration takes place on May 16, which is the General Assembly’s first day back in session. It’s also a school day. He’s encouraging teachers who’d like to participate to take a personal day from work, Jewell said. The planned advocacy day is not a strike, he said. State law prohibits public employees from going on strike.