North Carolina’s public schoolteachers have a new advocate. The group Aim Higher N.C. formed last year around a single objective: Raising educators’ salaries to match the national average. On Monday, affiliated teachers and parents gathered for a rally at Wilmington’s downtown library. And the mission has already gained local legislative support.
Along with a red tee-shirt-wearing crew of educators, Monday’s conference drew public figures including New Hanover County Commissioner Jonathan Barfield, state senate candidate Elizabeth Redenbaugh, and Representative Susi Hamilton. Hamilton notes that between 2003 and 2009, North Carolina stood in the middle on the scale of nationwide teacher pay. But between 2010 and 2013, she says the state dropped down to number forty-six.
"Look at how quickly it happened. It took three years—three years—to put us at the bottom of the pack in the United States. I won’t stand for it. There were very, very many reasons for me to vote against the budget last year in the General Assembly, but the number one reason is because of what it did to public education."
Aim Higher NC’s online petition to get legislators to raise teacher’s salaries within the next four years has about thirty thousand signatures so far. And last week, Governor McCrory said he plans to raise teacher pay within the next five years.