Educators meet ahead of school year to re-address demands

DeJuan Hoggard Image
Friday, August 24, 2018

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) -- Nearly 60 educators met Friday on the steps of Leesville Road High School to re-address demands they made in the statewide Red4EdNC rally in May.

Raleigh is one of seven locations across the state where Red4EdNC held town-hall meetings and news conferences where they made declarations in defense of public schoolchildren. The other locations included Macon County, Asheville, Winston-Salem, Charlotte, Goldsboro, and Greenville.

"A lot of people were surprised at how many teachers wanted to participate and how many teachers would agree to march," said educator Alicia Burnett-Whitley. "And there were a lot of teachers who said they were going to come out and do it. And I was really happy to see people out there supporting us."

The educators invited 16 politicians, who represent Wake County, to Friday's event; however, because of an afternoon session, they were unable to attend.

The group sent emails 10 days and also five days in advance of the event, and Rep. Cynthia Ball, Rep. Rosa Gill, and Sen. Jay Chaudhuri accepted the invitation.

"We want to believe that our part-time legislators have succumbed to just a few talking points trotted out by leadership to somehow claim that what is being done is adequate," said Angie Sciol, of Red4EdNC.

Members who responded to the invitation but declined include the following: Rep. Joe John, Rep. Grier Martin, Sen. Tamara Barringer, Rep. Gale Adcock, Sen. John Alexander, and Rep. Darren G. Jackson. Not responding: Rep. Nelson Dollar, Rep. Duane Hall, Rep. Yvonne Holley, Rep. Chris Malone, Rep. Linda Hunt Williams, Sen. Dan Blue, and Sen. Chad Barefoot.

"We can live without the supplies. We can live without the pencils. But we can't live without the teachers. And we need more teachers," said Allison Dahle, a candidate for NC House District 11. "This is a profession and it must be valued. We need to value our teachers and understand that they are creating the future. Because if our children aren't educated, then we don't have a future."

In early July, Red4EdNC introduced a "Declaration in Defense of North Carolina's Public Schoolchildren" which outlined the specific demands that arose from May's statewide rally.

Several public officials from various school boards were also in attendance at Friday's press conference.

One teacher told ABC11 that "nothing is off the table," should legislators not meet the demands presented in their declaration of defense.

This means a teacher strike is likely possible if teachers feel the need to further make their case.

"We are still unified." said educator Wendy Kreitman. "We are still fighting for the rights of public education in North Carolina."