"I'm a grandmother, not a thug", said Ira Reed.
In Arizona, where the recent #RedForEd walkout led to a 20 percent teacher pay increase over three years and $400 million in additional school funding, organizers called for a November ballot initiative that would increase income taxes on wealthy state residents to bring in some $690 million in annual revenue for teacher salaries and school operations.
In addition, teachers are calling for the creation of a multiyear pay plan for teachers, administrators and other school personnel that would raise incomes to the national average.
But NCAE and Democrats, including those in the legislature and Governor Roy Cooper, countered with claims that education remains underfunded.
A North Carolina kindergarten teacher Kristin Beller, who has a side job as a tutor, told NBC News, "We have suffered through a decade of cuts, so this will be a sign of strength, a sign of power, a sign that North Carolina fully believes in public schools".
Sherrie Dame, who helps tutor small groups of students at a school in Mooresville, doesn't have her pay funded through the state like other teachers. Teachers are photocopying assignments off the internet or from old workbooks because textbooks haven't been replenished in years, North Carolina Association of Educators President Mark Jewell said.
Officer, 4 attackers dead in Indonesia police station assault
Media said one attacker may have had a bomb strapped to his body but police did not immediately confirm the reports. Police found the van not far from the location of the attack and searched it for possible explosive materials.
While thousands of teachers and educators convened at the state Legislature in Raleigh on Wednesday, Simmons joined educators in the Charlotte region who stood in solidarity by having a demonstration of their own.
Teachers wore red and made posters for the event. "I work at a brand new school that just opened its doors this year overcrowded and under staffed".
Leslie Rhinehart is a Polk County teacher and she says, "we all went into teaching knowing salaries would be low // I have a masters in chemistry and worked in the industry for a bit. but I chose teaching for my student".
"We are now about $2,400 below the national average in how we fund our public school children", Jewell said at a news conference in Raleigh earlier this week.
"Despite the lack of information in the media and the politically motivated misinformation coming from the local affiliate of the national teachers' union, the numbers speak for themselves - and we're glad to have the opportunity to share N.C.'s success story and set the record straight", the legislative leaders said in a joint statement. "Unless we make a lot of noise, our representatives, the people in that building aren't going to listen to us, they are going to keep doing what they've been doing all along". Per-student public school spending is down about 8 percent over the same period, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
Jewell said teachers don't really expect the current leadership to meet all their demands, which is why they are also urging voters to not re-elect them.
The demands of NCAE include raising per-pupil spending and pay for teachers and support staff to the national average, and increasing school construction to match the state's population growth. And planned raises for educators this year will make five in a row since state finances rebounded from the shock of a recession a few years ago, legislators said. Their pay increased by 4.2 percent over the previous year - the second-biggest increase in the country - and was estimated to rise an average 1.8 percent this year, the NEA said. "You can't check out books", she said. They've also called for more school nurses, psychologists, and counselors.