Thousands of #RedforEd Teachers Walk Out of Class for ‘May Day’ March in the Carolinas

COLUMBIA, SC - MAY 01: Teachers and their supporters rally at the South Carolina State House on May 1, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina. Law enforcement estimated 10,000 people gathered at the state capital. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Thousands of #RedforEd public school teachers in North Carolina and South Carolina walked out on their classes and marched through the streets of their respective state capitols to demand higher wages and more money for schools on Wednesday.

In North Carolina, the teacher walkout forced more than 34 public school districts in the state to shut down for the day, keeping more than half of the state’s public school students out of classes as the academic year winds down.

The Raleigh News & Observer reported on the day’s developments:

Thousands of teachers, other school employees and their supporters marched through downtown Raleigh on Wednesday to demand that state lawmakers increase funding for public education and Medicaid.

A sea of protesters wearing red filed up Fayetteville Street from the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts toward the State Capitol and the Legislative Building.

They carried signs that talked about teacher pay, too much testing, the General Assembly and state school superintendent Mark Johnson. Pop culture messages abounded in their signs, from “Game of Thrones” to “Star Wars” to Ariana Grande.

The North Carolina May Day rally was organized by the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) and #RedforEdNC, the local #RedforEd group.

NCAE posted this picture of the crowd in Raleigh taken earlier in the day on its Facebook page late Wednesday:


“The conservative Civitas Institute has questioned holding the event on May Day, a day associated with labor union events, and for using ‘Marxist symbolism’ by having a red fist in logos promoting the event,” The Charlotte Observer reported.

In South Carolina, an estimated 10,000 teachers marched to the State Capitol in Columbia, as The Post and Courier reported:

The turnout matched one of the largest Statehouse crowds in recent memory. About 10,000 also turned out in 2015 to watch the Confederate flag being removed from the grounds.

If there was one slogan that summed up the frustrations and aspirations of the day it was a chant that teachers repeated again and again, thundering at the base of the Statehouse steps: “We teach. We vote.”

The teachers, organized by the teacher advocacy group SC for Ed under the social media hashtag #AllOutMay1, have been asking the Republican-controlled state Legislature for higher wages, smaller classroom sizes, more mental health counselors in schools and full funding of the state’s promises to students.

The South Carolina May Day rally was organized by SC for Ed, the local #RedforEd group, and was apparently not formally sanctioned by the South Carolina Education Association (SCEA).

However, on Wednesday, SCEA sent out this tweet from its official Twitter account:

As Breitbart News reported, the #RedforEd movement was launched in March 2018, and “has its roots in the very same socialism that President Trump vowed in his 2019 State of the Union address to stop, and it began in its current form in early 2018 in a far-flung corner of the country before spreading nationally. Its stated goals – higher teacher pay and better education conditions – are overshadowed by a more malevolent political agenda: a leftist Democrat uprising designed to flip purple or red states to blue, using the might of a significant part of the education system as its lever.”

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