Emotions, opinions run deep at WNCN 'Teacher Town Hall' - WFLA News Channel 8

Emotions, opinions run deep at WNCN 'Teacher Town Hall'

Posted: Updated:
WNCN took an in-depth look at the future of K-12 education in North Carolina Monday, with a one-hour special that evaluated the issue in light of the recent General Assembly session. (Patrick Priest, WNCN) WNCN took an in-depth look at the future of K-12 education in North Carolina Monday, with a one-hour special that evaluated the issue in light of the recent General Assembly session. (Patrick Priest, WNCN)
WNCN's Penn Holderness and Pam Saulsby get ready for Monday's Teacher Town Hall. (Eileen Park, WNCN) WNCN's Penn Holderness and Pam Saulsby get ready for Monday's Teacher Town Hall. (Eileen Park, WNCN)
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Emotions ran high Monday night as teachers and administrators from the region joined WNCN for a passionate discussion of public education at "The State of Our Schools – A Teacher Town Hall" at a historic elementary school in downtown Raleigh.

WNCN anchors Penn Holderness and Pam Saulsby hosted the event, which included State Superintendent June Atkinson and other educational leaders.

Atkinson made a forceful case for increasing pay for teachers, saying, "We must raise our teachers' salaries to a much higher place than we are now."

She called it "a sad state" that North Carolina is 46th in the country in teacher pay.

The state of education in North Carolina has been the subject of intense debate since Gov. Pat McCrory took office in January and teamed with a Republican-led General Assembly to put North Carolina on new paths.

McCrory included a 1 percent pay raise for state employees, including teachers, in his original budget proposal, but signed a budget that did not include raises for any state employees.

Teachers were irked that they received no pay raise yet again, and many raised concerns that the state was not pushing enough funding overall into public education.

>>>June Atkinson/N.C SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION:
     "Before we have a discussion about merit pay, we must raise our teacher salaries to a much higher place than where we are now."

"Regardless of political party, public education is nonpartisan," Mark Jewell with the North Carolina Association of Educators said.  "North Carolina thrives when business and industry and public education work together.  That's what made us a world class system."

"Teacher pay, we've heard tonight is absolutely critical," Granville County Schools Superintendent Tim Farley said, "and I think class size is absolutely critical.  We can't wait.  We don't have any time for this stuff."

Read comments from WNCN followers on Twitter

It's an emotional, and important, discussion in a state that has taken immense pride in its public schools and universities.

The Murphey School, located on Person Street, was the first integrated school in Raleigh when Bill Campbell arrived as the first black student in 1960. The school auditorium is now the home of the Burning Coal Theater.

Teachers expressed their concerns inside that auditorium Monday night. One woman said she had to leave education after making the same amount in  2013 that she earned in 2009.

Another expressed concern about teachers with master's degrees not receiving higher salaries.

"I do see many of my colleagues leaving the state for other jobs that are higher paying," she said. "And I see people leaving the profession all together for a higher salary."

And a Durham teacher said she was "completely disheartened" by what she was hearing about funding for public education.

"It makes you feel like, what do I do now? Do I stay in this profession?" she said.

RELATED STORIES

  • Wake CountyMore>>

  • New taxi options in Raleigh offer more than standard fare

    New taxi options in Raleigh offer more than standard fare

    Friday, April 25 2014 12:11 AM EDT2014-04-25 04:11:57 GMT
    A pair of new ride sharing smartphone apps launched in Raleigh on Thursday, to the dismay of some traditional taxi services.Uber and Lyft are both well-established in some larger cities. The services connect independent drivers in their personal vehicles with people who need a ride. The car is ordered and paid for using the app. Once inside the vehicle, no money exchanges hands.WNCN decided to try out the service for ourselves. We downloaded both apps. Uber did not have any cars available nea...
    A pair of new ride sharing smartphone apps launched in Raleigh on Thursday, to the dismay of some traditional taxi services.Uber and Lyft are both well-established in some larger cities. The services connect independent drivers in their personal vehicles with people who need a ride. The car is ordered and paid for using the app. Once inside the vehicle, no money exchanges hands.WNCN decided to try out the service for ourselves. We downloaded both apps. Uber did not have any cars available nea...
  • Sexercise provides more than physical fitness

    Sexercise provides more than physical fitness

    Friday, April 25 2014 12:01 AM EDT2014-04-25 04:01:21 GMT
    Physical and mental health are both benefits of traditional exercise, but there can be hidden benefits as well in other non-traditional ways to get fit.
    Physical and mental health are both benefits of traditional exercise, but there can be hidden benefits as well in other non-traditional ways to get fit.
  • Man found shot in Raleigh apartment

    Man found shot in Raleigh apartment

    Thursday, April 24 2014 11:33 PM EDT2014-04-25 03:33:21 GMT
    Raleigh police said a 35-year-old man died Thursday afternoon after being found in an apartment with gunshot wounds.
    Raleigh police said a 35-year-old man died Thursday afternoon after being found in an apartment with gunshot wounds.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.