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Mountain teachers expected to march for better pay with educators from across NC

Teachers from Asheville and Buncombe County are expected to join others from across the Tar Heel State to march for more resources and better pay on May 16 in Raleigh. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

Teachers from Asheville and Buncombe County are expected to join others from across the Tar Heel State to march for more resources and better pay on May 16 in Raleigh.

The event is sponsored by the N.C. Association of Educators.

"It's my way to give back," Angie Cathcart, the president of the Asheville City Association of Educators, said.

The Day of Advocacy is expected to bring teachers together and send a unified message to lawmakers.

"We, as teachers, know what is needed and what we need from our legislators,” Cathcart said. “What we need to make our schools great."

"They sacrifice a tremendous amount to be able to work with our students and give them an opportunity to be a happy citizen, so pay attention to what teachers are saying," she stressed.

Local teachers will take a personal day to march. Normally, they pay $50 to cover the cost of a substitute but educators association members who participate in the event will be reimbursed.

Cathcart, a teacher at Asheville Middle School, is the voice of 28 years of experience. She’s worried about where her profession is headed for the next generation of school teachers.

"New teachers starting in 2021 will not have any kind of retirement or pension. To me, that is just mind boggling!" she said.

"We are in desperate need in all of our schools for additional personnel to serve our children in various ways they need to be served,” she said. “We need school psychologists and counselors and social workers. "

Cathcart said, so far, about half dozen from Asheville have confirmed they're coming, but interest is expected to increase in the days ahead. She hopes to fill a charter bus with city and Buncombe County teachers departing for Raleigh early that morning.

In Durham, where more than a thousand teachers are expected to participate, the Board of Education voted to close schools May 16.

Cathcart said recent teacher rallies all over the country are empowering.

"I see renewed encouragement and motivation because of the other activism in states," she said.

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