Teachers march for change

Maggie Frail, Staff Writer

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Along with 29 other school systems in North Carolina, Winston Salem Forsyth County Schools cancelled school for the #RED4ED teacher rally. On Wednesday, May 1, the annual teacher protest was held in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Red for ED pushes for more state funding for students, benefits and better payments for teachers. Teachers payment has gone down 9.4 percent since 2009 and pre-student funding has not been consistent year to year since the recession a decade ago.

Mrs. Wiley and I are heading to Raleigh in solidarity with teachers around the state who have made a similar commitment to students,” civics and economics teacher Cristofer Wiley said. “There is something very democratic about exercising our right to assemble and demonstrate.”

According to neaTODAY, in North Carolina, and several other states, 1 out of 5 educators have to work another job to make meets end.

Last years rally brought attention to the issues the teachers are fighting for but their was no action taken so their protest continues.

“Unfortunately, there has been no great change since last years rally which is why we are marching again,” French teacher Victoria Schmoyer said.

Wiley hopes that the rally will draw attention to the issues that teachers are fighting for.

“We will go to Raleigh because the [North Carolina] General Assembly has not made the education our state’s youth a budgetary priority,” Wiley said. “To be clear, a number of our elected officials in Raleigh have spoken of teachers in condescending, if not demeaning, terms.”

At some protests, everyone wears pink to symbolize love or blue, like Rosie the Riveter; at most protests, striking teachers wear red shirts as an expression of solidarity.

In honor of the risks and chances people take by going on strike, members across the country wear red and there has often been a day of the week dedicated to do so, commonly a Wednesday or Thursday.

Wiley recognizes the likelihood of the march instigating change, but hopes that it will begin a conversation of change between voters.

“The statement made by marching is unlikely to sway lawmakers but a public protest has the effect of raising the issue of education to the fore of the public discourse,” Wiley said. “The outcome we hope for is that voters across the political spectrum will make it clear to their candidates that public education deserves to be high priority.”

By attending the rally, teachers hope to see wages raise more support and a higher budget for students…but they also want to see respect from the government.

“I’d also like to see our legislature recognize teachers as educated individuals who know what is best for our students,” Schmoyer said.

Photos courtesy of Pamela Kirkland