A sea of red-clad teachers took to the streets around North Carolina’s legislative building in Raleigh this morning to fight for higher pay and more school funding.
About 40 school districts closed for the one-day walkout, affecting close to 1 million students. The organizers of the protest anticipated that more than 15,000 educators would attend today’s “March for Students and Rally for Respect,” which coincided with the state legislature’s first day back in session. Most counts say that number was easily met.
North Carolina is home to the latest in a series of statewide labor actions in which teachers have shut down schools to protest what they see as low compensation and inadequate school resources.
Teachers in Arizona, Oklahoma, and West Virginia, all received pay raises after multi-day walkouts. In Colorado and Kentucky, teachers saw some rollbacks on possible controversial changes to their pensions after protesting.
North Carolina teachers, who earn an average salary of about $50,000, according to the National Education Association, are calling for a nearly $10,000 pay raise over four years, in addition to more school funding. That would put them in line with the national average for teacher salaries. (See this primer for more on how teacher pay works across the states.)
Below are some scenes from today’s march and rally.
Participants make their way towards the N.C. Legislative Building in Raleigh. —Gerry Broome/AP
Teachers gather outside the Senate and House chambers during the teachers rally at the General Assembly. —Gerry Broome/AP
Observers watch from inside the N.C. Legislative Building as teachers rally outside the General Assembly. —Gerry Broome/AP
In a panoramic photo, teachers gather outside the North Carolina Association of Educators headquarters before the “March for Students and Rally for Respect. —Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer via TNS
A man encourages the crowd as teachers chant outside the House and Senate chambers during the teachers rally at the General Assembly. —Gerry Broome/AP
General Assembly Police Chief Martin Brock tries to silence demonstrators outside the House and Senate chambers during a teachers rally at the Legislature. —Gerry Broome/AP
North Carolina Rep. Evelyn Terry, D-Forsyth, second from left, speaks with educators during the teacher rally at the General Assembly.
Top Image: Standing on the roof of the North Carolina state legislature building, Javier Carranza, a teacher from Asheboro, captures a selfie with a long line of teachers filling Bicentennial Mall behind him. —Robert Willett/ Raleigh News & Observer via TNS
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.