North Carolina teachers are taking it to the streets with their “Red for Ed” message for the second year in a row as part of the Day of Action Rally.
Thousands of teachers packed downtown Raleigh hoping to get the attention of lawmakers. Educators held signs demanding change. While others literally tried to track down their legislators.
Ed Keohohou who’s a retired educator, and Guilford County School Board Member, Khem Irby visited the legislative building on a mission.
"To meet with legislatures not just to yell and scream, but defiantly to give them some important information."
Forsyth County Representative, Derwin Montgomery, left plenty of snacks outside the doors for educators.
"I think them bringing that message to the general assembly helps the rest of the members of the general assembly deal with what our teachers deal with every single day and why it's so important to support educators, said Montgomery.”
For teachers, this is what it's all about a face to face meeting with Senators and Representatives like Guilford County's Pricey Harrison.
"It seems like something the messaging falls on deaf ears and I believe the folks in charge think they've done enough for teachers, but having been here before all the cuts were made, I realize our education is suffering," said Harrison.
The teachers did not get an opportunity to meet with all lawmakers. However, some Republicans posted the following signs on their doors.
The signs read, “Republicans have increase education spending by 28-percent since 2011.”
However, teachers said that's true, but it's still a long way away from the budget they had before the recession.
“I was here last year, I’m here today. I’ll be here however long it takes,” said Amy Kieffer who’s a teacher at Northwest Guilford.
Her son, Benjamin is a Guilford County Schools student.
“To show it’s not just problems with teachers that we’re having. It’s problems with the school entirely and the students are feeling the same thing that the teachers are,” said Benjamin.
Teachers said it’s vital to have the right funding for librarians, nurses, counselors, personnel. Educators are asking for five demands.
- Hire more social workers and counselors
- Expand Medicaid
- Implement $15 minimum wage for all school workers
- Reinstate Masters and advanced degree pay
- Make retirement packages to stay the same for future educators
But many said it’s really more than that. It's not that lawmakers don't want better schools, it's that all districts are strapped. A bulk of school district funding across North Carolina comes from the state level. That means smaller portions coming from local and federal funding. In order to reallocate money toward education, that means cutting costs somewhere else.