Classes have been canceled on May 16 for more than a third of North Carolina's public school students as districts have decided to close that day and let teachers attend a rally at the state capitol in Raleigh.
The Raleigh News & Observer reports that thousands of teachers from across the state are expected to come to Raleigh for the "March For Students and Rally For Respect." The teachers will lobby state lawmakers on the opening day of the North Carolina General Assembly in an effort to win better pay and working conditions.
"Despite an economic recovery since the crash of 2008, NC state lawmakers refuse to invest in our public schools," the organizers of the May 16 Coalition assert.
The North Carolina teachers' rally follows similar demonstrations on behalf of better resources for education in other states—West Virginia, Kentucky, Colorado, Oklahoma and Arizona.
In anticipation of next week's teacher absences, 13 North Carolina school districts have announced that they have canceled school on May 16.
Those districts, including the state's three largest—Wake County, Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Guilford County—represent more than 538,000 students, or 35 percent of the state's public school students.
The other 10 school districts that have canceled school on May 16: Asheboro City, Asheville City, Cabarrus County, Chapel Hill-Carrboro, Durham County, Iredell-Statesville, Mooresville Grade School District, Nash-Rocky Mount, Orange County, and Pitt County.