Last year over 25,000 people marched at the state capital in Raleigh to support public school teachers through the Red 4 Ed NC cause. This year they’ll do it again on May 1st.
Franklin High School teacher John deVille is the vice president of North Carolina Association of Educators. He’s also on the Red 4 Ed advisory board. He says May 1st isn’t a protest.
“I wouldn’t want to frame it as a protest. We’re calling a day of advocacy,” says deVille who has taught at FHS for the last 23 years.
Last year, legislature gave teachers across the state a 3% pay increase, adjusting for inflation says deVille. But he adds more needs to be done.
“It’s about the restoration of the teacher pipeline. It’s about fair compensation. It’s about taking care of the people in our communities so that their children don’t have to be worrying about them during the day and to have the support services that we need to have so that we can effectively teach our children in our North Carolina public school classrooms,” says deVille.
Red for Ed has announced five priorities it wants to see in legislation and policy. These include a living wage for all school workers, more school psychologists and nurses, as well as pay raises and increased retiree benefits.
Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act is also on the list. Health in the home is just as important as at school says deVille.
“You don’t want that child in a classroom worrying about ‘well dad has a cough that won’t go away’ and ‘mom has headaches that won’t go away but we don’t have any money to go to the doctor,’” says deVille. “You can pick up on that stress in the classroom.”
Teachers and their supporters from Macon County and across Western North Carolina will travel to Raleigh on May 1st. Many school will shut their doors for the day.