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N.C. teachers demand change
Educators rally for respect, funding
 
Published Monday, November 4, 2013 3:17 pm
by Latisha Catchatoorian

RALEIGH – On the south side grounds of the State Capitol, a red-clad crowd gathered in support of teachers' rights in North Carolina. 

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PHOTO/LATISHA CATCHATOORIAN
Teachers rallied at the State Capitol in Raleigh on Monday for increased funding and small class sizes.

Activists, parents, and teachers rallied at the Speak Out for North Carolina’s Teachers press conference on Monday. Yevonne Brannon, chair of Public Schools First, said lawmakers are expecting miracles from teachers as the state cuts funding while enrollment grows. Teacher advocates also criticize shifts in funding from public schools to charter schools as well as tuition subsidies for low-income students to enroll in private schools.

"We must turn it around before it's too late," she said. "We must be a united voice for our teachers." 

Matt Ellinwood, policy analyst at the NC Justice Center, stated that smaller classes lead to higher student achievement. Currently, there are no limits on class size in North Carolina. 

The state’s teachers have experienced a 16 percent salary decrease over the past five years after adjusting for inflation. North Carolina has also been last in the country over the last 10 years in pay raises. 

"The General Assembly has effectively undone 60 years of educational policy in a mere six months and must be stopped," said Vivian Connell, an educator and UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law graduate. 

Upwards of 80 percent of North Carolinians think that an increase in pay for an advanced degree is necessary and 71 percent don't think the state can keep current teachers with salaries that are in place. 

"The average teacher reaching into their own pockets spends upwards of $500 a year of their own money for classroom supplies," Ellinwood said, adding veteran educators are leaving the profession because of budget cuts. 

To understand the disparity in teacher salaries, look no further than neighboring South Carolina. A prospective teacher taking a job in South Carolina with a starting salary of $41,000 per year would have to work for 15 years across the border to earn the same amount. 

"I have a very real fear that teachers will continue to leave," said Stacy Eleczko, who has been teaching for seven years. "There is an abundance of teachers who work from sunrise to sunset, weekends, and those spare moments in between." 

State Rep. Rose Gill of Wake County said teachers’ dedication to their profession is being matched by public support. 

"They are very concerned about the positive impact they are having on students…because they want them to become productive citizens," she said. "We should do everything we possibly can to make sure that we give them the support they need." 

Doris Burke, a retired teacher, said lawmakers are treating the profession unfairly. 

"If anyone stays in education, they love it because of the children," she said. "It's not about us." 

 

Ilina Ewen, who has two grade school sons, said she is fed up with people who don't value teachers.

"We bastardize this profession by putting profit over pupils," she said.

 

Comments

Teachers get enough pay and they would never make it in the real working world. Who has the summer off, two weeks at Christmas,three days at Thanksgiving ect. ect.Oh and 8:15am to 3:15pm please this is no work day.Make them stay at school until 5:30.They are all spoiled.
Posted on December 4, 2013
 

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