Chatham teachers among those who join march, rally for respect in Raleigh

BY ZACHARY HORNER, News + Record Staff
Posted 1/3/19

Chatham County was one of several school districts in North Carolina that closed on May 16, the same day as the “March for Students and Rally for Respect” in Raleigh.

The event brought …

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Chatham teachers among those who join march, rally for respect in Raleigh

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Posted

Chatham County was one of several school districts in North Carolina that closed on May 16, the same day as the “March for Students and Rally for Respect” in Raleigh.

The event brought out thousands of North Carolina public school teachers, who marched in Raleigh to the state legislature asking for better pay, better working conditions and more resources for their students. It was organized by the North Carolina Association of Educators.

Chatham County Schools officials estimated that at least 20 percent of its teaching staff would be absent on the 16th, causing a closure along with a shortage of substitute teachers to step in. The Durham, Wake, Guilford and Chapel Hill-Carrboro systems also closed for the day.

Several Chatham County teachers were among the approximately 19,000 educators in attendance in Raleigh on the day of the march, including a group of five from Jordan-Matthews High School.

“All of us here work second jobs,” one teacher said. “But it’s not just about the teacher’s salaries.”

But whether the march actually accomplished anything is debatable. Mark Jewell, president of the NCAE, told the Raleigh News & Observer in July that there was no expectation for the legislature to acquiesce to the group’s requests.

“We didn’t anticipate them meeting those goals because their record since 2011 has been one of defunding public schools and giving tax breaks to the corporation(s) and the millionaires,” Jewell said.

The legislature did increase teacher pay in several areas and increased per-pupil spending, but not to the level the NCAE desired.

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