Thousands of teachers in Raleigh, North Carolina will participate in a strike to push for increased educational funding and salary increases from the state.
The educators will march to meet with the legislators to outline various longstanding demands. The rally is expected to host some 15,000 teachers. According to the North Carolina Association of Educators, one of the aims is to elect more pro-public education representatives in the state.
"Teacher salaries have increased each of the last four years – outpacing inflation every year – and North Carolina is one of the top states for fastest rising teacher pay," North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson noted.
Republican leaders in the General Assembly said that teachers will get their fifth-consecutive pay raise in the coming budget.
"We are on the right track, and I am pleased teachers will receive another raise next year. In a booming state economy, we need to keep boosting teacher pay to attract and keep talented teachers," Johnson stated. House Speaker Tim Moore's office added that the estimated average teacher salary will be approximately $53,400 in 2019.
"This plan must include restoration of compensation for advanced degrees and longevity," a state teachers' group representative said. "The plan must also stop the flat-lining of experienced educators' pay."
Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger criticized the rally, stating that teacher strikes are illegal in North Carolina. Berger added that "in some respects" the protest looks like a work slowdown and "fairly typical union activity."
North Carolina is currently ranked 37th in the United States for average teacher pay and 39th in per-pupil spending. The teachers have taken cues from the West Virginia, Oklahoma and Arizona strikes.
Some 42 school systems have announced the closure of institutions, the WRAL report disclosed. Some one million students will be out of school as a result of the strike action.