Thousands of NC teachers marched on Raleigh last year. They want to do it again May 1.

Public school teachers across North Carolina are being urged to take May 1 off from work to march in Raleigh in a repeat of last year’s historic protest.

Delegates at the N.C. Association of Educators’ annual convention voted Saturday to hold a “day of action” on May 1 to lobby lawmakers on issues such as raises for school employees; hiring more school counselors, social workers and nurses and expanding Medicaid. If the march is as big as last year’s it could result again in the majority of students having the day off from school.

Organizers hope to build on last year’s May 16 rally, where more than 19,000 teachers and their supporters marched, filled the legislative building and rallied for political change. The N.C. Association of Educators, the largest teachers group in the state, says the march helped break the Republican legislative supermajority in the fall elections.

Mark Jewell, president of NCAE, proposed the second march on Friday, telling NCAE delegates at this year’s annual convention that they “still have enemies on Jones Street.” He said “it’s time we paid them another visit.”

“This is the will of the educators across the state of North Carolina,” Jewell said in an interview Monday. “We’ve heard time and time again that education must be the top priority for the General Assembly. We’re not hearing that from the current General Assembly.”

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