State News

NC teachers hold 'walk-in' entering schools Monday

Posted November 4, 2013

— North Carolina public school educators who are unhappy with recent spending cutbacks and another year without pay raises highlighted those challenges as they headed to work this week.

NC Capitol protest teacher spending cuts NC wears red in support of teachers

Many teachers on Monday participated in a "walk-in" in which they wore red and entered together through the front door on the way to morning classes as a sign of unity.

Some also held meetings after school to discuss concerns, and many invited parents and elected officials to visit.

The North Carolina Association of Educators promoted the event as an alternative to a "walk-out" – public employee strikes are against state law – pushed by some teachers in recent months.

Critics of the spending cutbacks, like Public Schools First North Carolina and the North Carolina Justice Center, say public school teachers are being asked to do more with less while the state budget eliminates more than 9,300 education positions. In addition, the groups say, class sizes are growing while support is decreasing, and they say budget allocations for textbooks, classroom supplies and technology is inadequate.

They also point to only one "negligible raise" in the past five years.

Some teachers also demonstrated outside the state Capitol on Morgan Street Monday morning, holding signs that included messages like, 'Honk if you support teachers."

Parents, like Hope Carmichael, also joined in the event, including one at Lacy Elementary School in Raleigh.

"I applaud them for teaching our kids and for wanting to stand up for what is right," Carmichael said.

Megan Busick is a teacher at the school.

"I feel like a pot of boiling water. I've gotten to that point where I'm at a rapid boil and the froth is building, and if I don't get there quick, I'm going to overflow."

Senate leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, released a statement Monday denouncing the "walk-in" as a gimmick meant to boost NCAE membership.

“We appreciate the overwhelming majority of our teachers whose hard work and commitment are vital to the success of our children. And we appreciate the right of North Carolinians to exercise their First Amendment rights and welcome a productive dialogue," he said in a statement. "But we don’t appreciate the bully tactics of an organized union that puts kids’ safety at risk to gin up its membership and inflate the salaries of its executives. There is a time and place for everything – our schools are not the place for politics and our children should not be the pawns.”

The NCAE did not immediately respond to Berger's statement.

Some Republican legislators say the teachers group is still actively promoting a strike.

The group's top leader says that's not true. NCAE president Rodney Ellis said last week that the group turned the event into a "walk-in" so students would not be unattended and no one would get fired.

"If you get a handful of teachers walking out of their classroom, that only results in teachers losing their positions," he said. "As admirable as it is and the energy is there – and we appreciate that, we think there are more – there are other ways that we can get our message across."

The walk-in is meant to spark discussion among teachers and parents about challenges like spending cuts and low teacher pay, he said, adding that it's not meant to be a political protest.

Individual schools and parent groups decided for themselves whether they want to take part, he said.

Wake County Public School System officials told school administrators "neither to orchestrate the events nor obstruct them" as long as they did not interfere with classroom activities, district spokeswoman Renee McCoy said.

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  • dsmith77 Nov 6, 2013

    Re: JCParent: "Local school districts should decide what they think is adequate for their own districts. If there is an advantage to more funding, those districts will benefit and others will see and follow."

    You don't seem to understand how schools are funded. A local school district can't just incorporate and make bazillions of dollars. There are federal pots of money that school districts can apply for and receive, state funds, local funds, grants, etc. Each pot of money has different restrictions on it. Local school systems cannot pay teachers from money designated for maintenance for example.

    And don't get me started about our laughably-inept and corrupt state lottery. The way the legislation was implemented, only the largest districts truly benefit. First, 40% comes off the top for management. The remaining 60% is shared. My rural county only receives about 75% of the money the locals contribute. Where does the other 25% go? You might ask Charlotte-Mecklenburg... ( >110%)

  • joycejunior Nov 6, 2013

    Billfisher-"They get two months in the summer, a week in the spring, two weeks at Christmas and several holidays during the year. They work 9 months."

    LOL. Every job that I know of gives their employees time off. I happen to get 3 weeks of vacation after 10 years. Plus some holidays. Does that mean I only work 11 months? Does that justify paying our teachers the worst in the entire nation?

  • Plenty Coups Nov 6, 2013

    Billfisher-"we've been down this path before. They get two months in the summer, a week in the spring, two weeks at Christmas and several holidays during the year. They work 9 months."

    Yes, we've been down this path before. You don't seem to get that the 2 months off in the summer are UNPAID. Like being laid off for 2 months every year. Their vacation time each year is similar to other professions only teachers don't get to choose what days to take. The approximately 3 weeks they get off for holidays and vacation is in line with other professions and so if you're going to knock off a month of work for the approx. 3 weeks off, then you should also do it for other professions. According to Bureau of Labor data, most professions give from 15 to 24 days off after 5 years of service. Even allowing for the 2 months off, the pay still trails far behind other professions that require the same education. You always ignore this w/ your faulty comparisons.

  • krimson Nov 6, 2013

    BillF: "Would you expect less pay if you worked four 10hour days as compared to five 8hour days???" tatts1000

    "I would expect to get paid less if I worked 9 months rather than 12"

    That's awesome! Tell your boss that you will do the 12mon worth of work in 9mon. I'm sure he'll be happy to ax 3 months off your salary and lay you off for that time...

  • Billfisher Nov 6, 2013

    Would you expect less pay if you worked four 10hour days as compared to five 8hour days???
    tatts1000

    I would expect to get paid less if I worked 9 months rather than 12.

    The teachers in NC who work "10 months a year, not 9",
    Plenty Coups

    we've been down this path before. They get two months in the summer, a week in the spring, two weeks at Christmas and several holidays during the year. They work 9 months.

  • krimson Nov 5, 2013

    "How much should a teacher get paid for working 9 months a year?"

    Would you expect less pay if you worked four 10hour days as compared to five 8hour days???

  • Plenty Coups Nov 5, 2013

    "How much should a teacher get paid for working 9 months a year?"

    The teachers in NC who work "10 months a year, not 9", would probably be satisfied with the state giving them pay/benefits that were at least something close to the national average. That would mean around a 10 thousand dollar raise.

  • Billfisher Nov 5, 2013

    How much should a teacher get paid for working 9 months a year?

  • mexicousacanada Nov 5, 2013

    You can talk about anything you want, giving us your points of view about this issue' but it will never be logic that a School Teacher who needs a Bachelor Degree, and certifications by county, and States and even that they make less money that the guy who painted my house last week and he didn't finish High School. Something is terrible wrong, really wrong !!!

  • nstobias Nov 5, 2013

    The statistics don't lie. Young voters educated in our public schools are voting more and more for democrats than republicans. The hardcore conservatives in our state believe that public schools are deliberately educating students toward liberal ideologies. Hence, private school vouchers, more charter school funding, defunding of traditional public education and early education programs. Don't be fooled, our lawmakers know exactly what they’re doing. Look at redistricting, voter ID laws, education policies, campaign financing. It’s all an attempt to manipulate votes.

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