“Forecast for May 16th – 80% chance of rain, 100% chance of being heard.”

As May 16th, 2018 comes to a close in Raleigh, North Carolina, I find myself amazed at what the day has brought. As an aspiring educator, today was very important to me. Why you might ask? Well, I’ll give you a few reasons.

To begin, I want to make one thing very clear – yes, today’s rally included the advocacy for raising teacher pay. But that was not its main purpose. Today’s main purpose was to fight for the future, and to gain respect for our profession (hint, hint…“ Rally for Respect.”)  We also advocated for graduate degree pay raises, the need (dire need) of more per-pupil expenditure, the classroom supplies that are older than some of the teachers, Teacher Assistant jobs, school counselors, school nurses, and many other things. Just in case you don’t believe me, here are some statistics: 1) North Carolina ranks 39th in the nation in per-Rallypupil expenditures. 2) NC received a “D” for school funding in an Education Weekly Quality Counts report. 3) NC received an “F” from a recent Rutgers University School Funding Fairness Report. 4) During the last ten years, teachers have seen funding for basic school supplies decrease by 55%, textbook funding decreased by 45%, and technology funding decreased by 59%. And finally, 5) North Carolina teachers have watched their salary supplement by 2%, and they have also watched additional pay for advanced degrees be removed.

On May 16th, we came together for these reasons. We marched. We held signs. We advocated. We took personal days. We spoke to legislators. We made history. We made friends. We chanted. We made our voices heard. We were NCAE Strong. We wore red. We took it personal. All 30,000 of us. So if you ask me why I did it, I would tell you I did it because of the elementary-aged student marching along with us wearing a t-shirt that says “I am a reason.” I did it because our future deserves better. I did it because I love my profession.

#itspersonal #NCAEStrong #kidsdeservebetter #red4ed

-Hannah Nixon



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