RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina Superintendent Mark Johnson says a teacher protest set for May 1 in Raleigh should instead be on a non-school day.
"We support teachers and are championing the changes our education system needs, but I cannot support protests that force schools to close," Johnson wrote in a statement.
North Carolina's largest teacher-lobbying group is organizing another march in Raleigh on May 1. They are rallying for higher salaries and funding from the General Assembly.
Johnson released a statement saying he supports that change is needed, but the rally should take place another time.
"The protest organizers should choose a non-school day. The legislature will be in session in Raleigh for at least another three months, a time period that spans dozens of days students are not scheduled to be in school, including spring break and summer break.
Protesting is a right that can be just as effective during non-school hours. Closing schools affects not only students’ learning and nutrition, but also parents, other school employees, and other teachers.
We have more work to do, but we listen to educators’ concerns and have been responding with efforts to raise teacher pay, provide state funding for school construction needs, reduce high-stakes testing, improve school safety efforts, and more," wrote Johnson.
It's estimated that 19,000 people marched last May in Raleigh.
North Carolina average teacher salaries have been going up state rankings recently, but protest organizers say veteran teachers have been left behind.