CMS teachers prepare for rally in Raleigh

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Some North Mecklenburg High School teachers spent their time after school Tuesday making signs for the teachers rally in Raleigh on Wednesday.

Teachers are fighting for higher pay, more money to educate students, lower healthcare costs, and for the state to do something about children living in poverty in North Carolina.

Teachers say there are about 60 educators from North Mecklenburg High who will attend the rally. They will join about 15,000 teachers expected to attend. Teachers believe marching is the right thing to do and will show their students how to make change.

Related: Thousands of NC teachers to rally Wednesday for higher pay, school funding

"We teach them how to make a difference the right way," North Meck teacher James Walker said. "We teach them you can't be out there looting, you can't be out there destroying stuff - no one is going to listen to you - that peaceful protest is the way to go."

Walker has been teaching for about three years. He says he would have been teaching sooner but people discouraged him from the profession.

"So many people, they tell us over and over again it's a hard job," Walker said. "Doesn't pay very much money. It's an under-appreciated job."

Walker says his wife told him to go after his passion and that's when he pursued a teaching career. He hopes the rally will encourage other people to go into teaching.

"None of my students want to be teachers," Walker said. "They know we don't make enough money."

Walker hopes after the march lawmakers will give more money to increase teacher pay, but also help educate students.

CMS says North Carolina is 43rd in the nation when it comes to per-pupil expenditures. North Carolina spends $8,940 on each student - the national average is $11,984. The state is also about $10,000 behind the national average for teacher pay.

Teachers are demanding the state catch up in teacher pay and per-pupil expenditure within the next four years.

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