In Oklahoma, the teachers union secured raises and increases to school funding and say they'll focus on supporting pro-education candidates in upcoming elections.
According to a recent report by the National Education Association, North Carolina teachers now make an average of $49,970 a year - placing them 39th in the country in terms of average teacher salary for 2017. Those districts are among at least 38 others in the state - including Pitt County Schools - that are closing. "We teach them you can't be out there looting, you can't be out there destroying stuff - no one is going to listen to you - that peaceful protest is the way to go".
The state Democratic party responded to the Republican news conference saying Republicans today refused to address teachers' concerns and instead reheated the same warmed-over proposal that fell flat past year. He says he would have been teaching sooner but people discouraged him from the profession.
"I think a lot of us started to see, 'well shoot, if West Virginia can do it, North Carolina can do it, ' " middle school Spanish teacher Sally Merryman told NPR.
Walker says his wife told him to go after his passion and that's when he pursued a teaching career.
"None of my students want to be teachers", Walker said.
A Durham teacher accused the rally's organizers of using students as "pawns" to push their agenda. "They know we don't make enough money".
Among the NCAE's members' demands are higher teacher pay, more school nurses and guidance counselors and increased per-student spending.
Congressman Walker says North Carolina leads the nation as far as what percentage of the budget goes toward education. North Carolina spends $8,940 on each student - the national average is $11,984.
In a post for his blog "Notes From the Chalkboard", North Carolina teacher Justin Parmenter elaborated on the ways the state's public schools have been hurting for lack of adequate funding.
Teachers are demanding the state catch up in teacher pay and per-pupil expenditure within the next four years.