McCrory education advisor tours Pitt County Schools, ECU - WRBL

McCrory education advisor tours Pitt County Schools, ECU

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GREENVILLE, N.C. -

Teachers and students in Pitt County got some face-time with the state's education leaders Wednesday during several school tours.

Gov. Pat McCrory's senior education advisor, Eric Guckian, local representatives, and a member of the N.C. Board of Education spent nearly five hours touring Creekside Elementary, South Central High School and W.H. Robinson Elementary.

Despite recent statewide teacher rallies protesting cuts to education, teachers did not use the interaction to vent their frustrations. Instead, they wanted to show policymakers what really goes on inside our schools.

It's the only way that I know of to make policy and to make decisions that are going to affect folks,” Guckian said of the visit. “I get my best ideas when I come to schools."

Rep. Brian Brown, R-N.C., said he plans to take ideas back to his fellow lawmakers in Raleigh. 

“The teachers, they need to be supported and we need to make sure that we understand what those needs are,” he said. “Hence why we're here today, and be able to go back and really build that foundation for them."

"It’s all about building the relationships with these elected officials and I believe today was an important first step toward that,” said Jennifer Bryan, a social studies teacher at South Central High School.

It was a rare chance for one-on-one communication as teachers shared their triumphs, challenges and suggestions for policy – important dialogue as they try to regain many benefits the General Assembly cut this session.

"We are not going to back away from this,” said Karen Klaich, the chair of South Central High School’s English Dept. “It can't just be a one day visit. It has to be something that we're working on every single day."

Guckian acknowledged her feedback and said it’s a difficult time for teachers.

"Gov. McCrory and I are taking these concerns very seriously,” he said. “That's part of the reason why I’m out here."

While teachers say they appreciate the visit, they'll also be watching and waiting for change.

"It's easy to say that you're going to do something,” Klaich said. “Actions, for me, are what count. So that's what I’ll be looking for, a different rhetoric and a different dialogue coming out of Raleigh."

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