It's Teacher Cut Out Day in North Carolina.
As part of its efforts to unionize, NC Association of Educators organized the one-day strike to protest the Republican legislature - with the hope that the media coverage of the march will help elect more Democrats in 2020.
Coincidentally, it comes the day after the GOP released its budget proposal for the next two years - which includes yet another pay raise for teachers. It's really a testament to the absurdly transparent partisan nature of the NCAE efforts. After all, since Republicans won their majorities in the House and Senate in 2010, they've increased education spending by almost $3 billion. That's a 27% increase in spending in 8 years.
Most of that has been in teacher compensation - as the average teacher pay has been pushed to about $54,000 per year.
You can plug in your own data here.
For years, teachers, Democrats, and the media have said average teacher pay was so low in North Carolina that we were losing educators to other states (we're actually a net importer). They said our low ranking was proof that the Republicans don't value education, teachers, or children.
It was a simple and convenient metric used to bludgeon the GOP.
However, with average teacher compensation now higher than median household income, the hollowness of their argument is obvious. So, naturally, they have shifted away from using average teacher pay as a measurement or a demand. Now, it's about Medicaid expansion.
Simply put: This is about politics. It's about restoring Democrats to their century-long perch atop state government.
The Carolina Journal reports:
K-12 education spending increases $116.6 million to a total of $9.7 billion. The N.C. Community College System adds $8.7 million in spending, going to $1.18 billion. The UNC System rises $56.7 million, to $3.1 billion. Total state education spending is up $182 million to $14 billion.
You can read more on the overall budget here.