Teachers across the nation are making their voices heard this year. They're demanding better pay and more resources for their classrooms. Educators in several states have walked out of their classrooms over the last few months as a form of protest.
Now teachers in North Carolina are planning their own demonstrations. A big rally is happening in Raleigh, NC Wednesday. Asheville City and Buncombe County School Districts have canceled school Wednesday because so many teachers called out to attend the protest at the State Capitol.
Asheville City Schools tweeted that students should not go to class Wednesday unless they are taking Advanced Placement Exams:
Henderson County teachers have planned a rally at the Hendersonville Courthouse at 5 pm on Wednesday. Organizers said it's tough for them to get to Raleigh, but they feel just as strongly about the message.
Jayne Jennings has been a teacher in Henderson County for more than a decade. She helped plan the Hendersonville rally. Jennings said North Carolina is 39th in the US in spending per student and 37th in the nation in teacher pay. To see the salaries for North Carolina Public School teachers for the 2017-2018 school year click here.
"I have one colleague who has three jobs and she's trying to buy a home. She can't afford to buy a home in Henderson County. I have another colleague who's leaving and moving to Tennessee because she said immediately, walking in the door, as a 20 year teacher, she'll make $10,000 a year more," said Jennings.
Jennings explained teachers are protesting not just for more money, but they'd also like to see improvements in school safety, new textbooks and technology upgrades.
"We want all the young people coming out of college with education degrees to teach in North Carolina. We are the 9th most populated state in the country. We need our education system to reflect that and to be higher than the average," said Jennings.
State Representative Craig Horn is the Chairman of the K-12 Education Committee. He told FOX Carolina he supports teachers advocating for what they need, but believes there's a better way for teachers to express their concerns.
"I think that coming here, during one of the most critical time of the year for students is misguided. If the issue is delivering a quality education and improving working environment for teachers, if that's the issue, which is what they tell me is the issue, then I think we need to get more legislators in the classroom. Let them understand, let them see first hand," said Representative Horn.
Representative Horn doesn't think raising taxes to get the money for teachers is the right solution. He said there are projects he's working on that focus on rewarding veteran teachers and offering them more money if they take on more responsibility like mentoring other teachers.
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