RALEIGH, NC (WBTV) - Thousands of North Carolina teachers invaded Raleigh on Wednesday May 16. North Carolina is the sixth state across the country where teachers went to their State Capitol demanding change. Teachers want better pay and better working conditions.
Teachers started Wednesday morning with a march for students. They want the state to invest more money into the state per pupil expenditure. According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District (CMS), North Carolina is 39th in the country for how much it invests to educate students. Teachers believe North Carolina can do better.
"We believe our children are very important. They are vital pieces to our community and so that's why we are here. We want to raise that per pupil spending - get class sizes smaller so that we can teach kids on a more individual basis," Wayne County teacher Wayne Worrell said.
According to CMS, North Carolina spends $8,940 on each student, the national average for per pupil expenditure is nearly $12,000. Teachers believe more money spent on students would make a difference.
"What does that mean - that means more nurses, psychologists, more teacher assistants. More textbooks, more desks, more everything," Charlotte-Mecklenburg Association of Educators President Erlene Lyde said.
Thousands of teachers marched about a mile to the State Capitol requesting state lawmakers to increase the state's per pupil expenditure. They want the state to reach that national average for per pupil spending with the next four years.
"You can tell a school that has adequate spending versus a school that does not and we are not going to let our children suffer anymore in the state of North Carolina," Lyde said.
Worrell teaches social studies in a rural county. He hopes his participation in the teacher march will get students more resources.
"We want to make sure everything is up to date. Our technology - every kid has the opportunity to have an iPad - those things within the school system," Worrell said.
Teachers say their efforts will continue after the march is over.
"We go home. We organize. We vote," Lyde said.
State lawmakers say teachers will get a raise next year, but some lawmakers are also saying after today's march they could talk about giving teachers some relief when it comes to purchasing school supplies with their own money.