Since this past February teachers across the nation have taken turns spending almost as much time outside of the classroom during the school week as they should have spending in their classrooms. What started off in Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Western Virginia, has now reached the state of North Carolina. Instead of being in class educating young minds I imagine that approximately 15,000 teachers are in Raleigh, North Carolina right now. They are there representing the children of the great state of North Carolina and themselves as they demand better school resources for their students and better pay for themselves.
More than three dozen of the school districts throughout the state that handle the molding of young minds for over half of the 1.5 million student body of North Carolina gave their students the days off as they have come together as one to make their voices heard. Last year when it comes to average pay the fine educators of North Carolina found themselves ranked 39th in the nation at just 50,000 a year. That means that over half of the country receives better pay to do what the teachers in North Carolina are doing for less money. The pay that put them so low in the rankings includes a less than five percent increase in pay.
One elementary school at teacher named Jill Patrick let it be known that she feels its time for those responsible for the students to stand for something when she said, “It’s just my time to stand up for something. I stand for better resources for children, which is a big part of why we teach. We love children and feel that’s what we’re called to do. I think we’re just looking for more help.”
It is no secret that teachers across America do not receive anywhere near the pay that they truly deserve for the job that they do. Often times out of their already low pay teachers have to pay for school supplies out of their own pocket for their classrooms in order to help keep their students on track. When the disrespect that students subject their teachers to on a daily basis, because someone at home does not do their job and enforce a proper sense of discipline on these kids is added to the law pay and shifting demands, it is more than easy to understand why teachers would feel as though they were working a thankless job.
While one parent of Cary, North Carolina does not necessarily support the teachers methods of making their demands heard because it makes him and his wife have to work from home today he is very sympathetic to their demands. The four kids that he and his wife attend one of the biggest school districts in North Carolina. The parent would give them money to protest, but he feels that they should not cancel school in order to protest during school hours. If these teachers did not hold their protest during school hours then their protests would not be as effective as they have proven to be in other areas of the country.
This same parent sits in judgment of the school system as they explained that they feel their kids are receiving a half assed education at best and use out of date computer equipment at school. Their students have not brought home a text book all year. It was normal for parents to be given a list of school supplies that students needed when I was younger and they still do this practice even today. This particular parent sees such a list as a hidden tax. It is parents like these that make the teachers need higher pay if they can not or will not purchase the required supplies for their kids themselves.
These kind of complaints are exactly one of the reasons why teachers are in Raleigh protesting today. Textbooks have not been replaced in years making teachers photocopy from old workbooks or printing out assignments off the internet. The teachers are making what I personally feel are reasonable demands when they demand that legislators increase per student spending to the national average, build more schools, and increase their pay as well as the pay of school support staff to the national average.
While the States most powerful politician has committed the legislators to hearing the teachers out like they would anyone else, state Senate leader Phil Berger did not commit to making increasing teacher pay and per-pupil education spending to the national average was a goal for GOP legislators, who hold veto-proof majorities. Instead it seems that the legislators are more committed to making progress in the salary scale for teachers like they have done over the last couple years while making sure teachers are rewarded based on how well their students perform. Phil Berger, just some friendly advice from me to you. When it becomes clear that something isn’t working its time to fix it, not leave it the same and hope it fixes itself. I wouldn’t forget that legislators are going to need some of those teachers to vote for them in the next election.