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Teachers Gather Downtown to Protest New Education Cuts

Editor's note:  This report was corrected to reflect the change of terminology regarding the NCAE from "union" to "association", as North Carolina does not have a teachers' union.

More than 40 teachers and supporters assembled today on the steps of downtown Wilmington’s historic Federal Building to protest new state legislation concerning education. The North Carolina Association of Educators, or NCAE, along with Progress NC and Public Schools First NC, are issuing a call to action to hold Republican legislators accountable for what they say amounts to $117 million worth of new cuts in per-pupil spending, educational resources and teachers’ pay.

The “Get Your Facts Straight” Rally, as the NCAE dubs it, drew dozens of New Hanover County residents sporting red--in solidarity with the teachers’ association. Protesters waved signs and cheered a series of speakers who urged teachers and parents to demand education reform by voicing their concerns and challenging politicians at the local and state levels.

"How many of you all are really, really tired of what they’re doing in Raleigh? [Applause] Well this is the first step in New Hanover County of truly, truly showing that you’re tired of it. People come by and brave this kind of heat? You’re really mad; you’re really upset about it. My question is, what are you willing to do to help make this happen? "

That was Dallas Brown, president of the county’s NCAE branch. Other speakers included retired teachers, local parents and a former member of the New Hanover County Board of Education. Republican lawmakers say they increased education spending last year, but opponents say those hikes don’t match the state’s growing K-12 public school population.