Republican says NC teachers should plan better-pay march so it won’t close schools

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) —  North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper gave his support Friday to educators planning to march for better pay and other benefits – a repeat of a move from last year that shut down schools for a day.

In May 2018, the march by the North Carolina Association of Educators attracted more than 19,000 people. 

More than three-dozen school districts with more than 1 million public school students canceled classes that day because of it.

Cooper told CBS 17 that this year he plans to meet with teachers once they arrive in Raleigh.

“Their voices have been loud and strong,” Cooper said. “I don’t think there is any question that their attendance last year helped make the education budget better than it would have been, but for their attendance. I think we all need to listen to them. I plan to meet with them when they are here and I encourage other legislators to do it, as well.”

Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson said Thursday that he can’t support protests that force schools to close and urged they be held on a non-school day, such as during spring or summer break.

“We support teachers and are championing the changes our education system needs, but I cannot support protests that force schools to close,” Johnson said in a statement. “Closing schools affects not only students’ learning and nutrition, but also parents, other school employees, and other teachers.”

North Carolina Association of Educators President Mark Jewell says the rally is designed to affect pending budget discussions as soon as possible, and that Johnson underestimates the schools’ critical needs.

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