Pitt County teachers are fed up, protest education cuts - WNCT

Pitt County teachers are fed up, protest education cuts

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GREENVILLE, N.C. -

More than 100 teachers and parents gathered in Greenville's Town Common Friday to protest cuts to education.

It's just one stop on a state-wide tour of educators who say lawmakers just don't understand how $117 million in cuts will affect the classroom.

"Teachers are fed up," says Pitt County teacher Mary Robinson. "They want to know that there is room for growth in our profession and want to know that we will be compensated fairly."

Concerned parents were right there with them.

"When these teachers are going into the classroom and doing the very best that they can and using their own money for supplies, and doing what they need to do, the lack of respect being shown from the legislature towards teachers is really upsetting," says parent Carrie May.

The new budget doesn't include any raises for teachers, who already rank near the bottom in the nation for pay.

It's something the protesters highlighted, along with cuts to teacher assistants, tenure, bonuses and supplies – supplies parents are now being asked to provide.

"Copy paper?" asked parent Melissa Coxe as she addressed the crowd. "Come on. That's a typical need. The next thing they're going to be asking for is toilet paper."

Nicki Griffin has been a teacher for more than two decades and says this is a low point for education in North Carolina.

"This is the first time I have felt like I work for a state legislature that doesn't appreciate or understand what I do in the classroom," she says.

9 On Your Side took those concerns straight to Gov. Pat McCrory during his visit to ECU's Brody School of Medicine Friday.

"Listen, we need to do more to help teachers," he says, "and we also need to let the unions unleash us and let us reward the best of the best teachers, which the teacher's union doesn't want at this point in time."

He continued, "My education policy advisor and I are going to be putting together a group of teachers to have ongoing dialogue to find long-term solutions to how we can reward the teachers who are really having an impact and help make this a profession that they can afford to be in."

Gov. McCrory and his fellow Republicans say this budget includes more funding than ever for grades K-12.

But some teachers just aren't buying it.

"It's scary for our future generation because in most cases, the impact will be down the road," Griffin says. "And I think that's what our legislature is counting on, that they won't be there to be held accountable once that actually happens."

 

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