DURHAM, N.C. -- Thousands of teachers are preparing to converge in downtown Raleigh Wednesday for the “March for Students and Rally for Respect.” Teachers will advocate for better pay and working conditions.

Durham County was the first to close schools and allow teachers to attend the rally after pressure from the Durham Association of Educators. Multiple school districts and counties followed suit.

“We've been fighting in North Carolina for the last 10 years against the dismantling of our public schools,” says President Bryan Proffitt.

The rally will include marches and meetings with lawmakers.

“And as educators we deserve to be respected and have the resources that we need,” added Proffitt.

But many Republicans believe the rally is nothing more than a political stunt.

“The teacher union could've chosen to do this in a few weeks when school is out. They could've chosen not to inconvenience the parents,” says Dallas Woodhouse, Executive Director of the NCGOP.

The NCGOP will roll out a website and mobile app Wednesday that will allow teachers to calculate their pay raises over the years, showing lawmakers' efforts. But many teachers contend the pay is still too low.

“We know we need to do more for teachers and that's why the legislature is giving the fifth consecutive pay raise in a row this year,” adds Woodhouse.

Teachers and their supporters plan to wear red in solidarity during Wednesday's rally.

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