Pitt County teachers prepare for education rally

Clay Curtis
May 9, 2018

Wake County Public School System leaders decided Monday to close schools on May 16 due to a teacher rally that thousands of teachers across the state plan to attend in Raleigh.

Brian Link, a teacher at East Chapel Hill School and vice president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Association of Educators, said the board's move gives teachers who want to rally in Raleigh several options: they can take annual leave, they can take a personal day, they can use banked hours, or they could choose to take a day without pay.

Both Campbell and Dixson said on average there are anywhere from 450 to 475 absences per day throughout the district of more than 7,000 employees - more than 4,000 of those being teachers.

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"In our case", Fulcher said, "the show of bodies on the ground is even more crucial to show the nation the state is failing our teachers and kids".

It is being organized by the North Carolina Association of Educators, whose members are unhappy with the Republican-controlled General Assembly's decisions on teacher salaries and school funding.

Guilford County Schools will close schools for students on May 16 in the wake of almost 2,000 confirmed teacher absences, according to a news release from the school system.

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"May 16 is our chance to show the legislators in this state that we're exhausted of dropping in the rankings", he said.

Without closure, local districts would be left scrambling to find stand-ins with more than 10,000 North Carolina teachers expected to gather in Raleigh next week.

Superintendent Ethan Lenker said they support the teachers.

On Monday, Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, a Rockingham County Republican and one of the legislature's most powerful policymakers, blasted teachers for their plans, according to the N.C. Insider.

There have been similar rallies in Arizona, Oklahoma and West Virginia. "We were near the national average an educator pay, and we were making the right investments". Advanced Placement exams scheduled for May 16th will still be administered that day.

The event has had such a response that at least eight school districts have opted to call off school for the day.

Durham Public Schools and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools had already chose to close on May 16.

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