An estimated 15,000 public school teachers skipped classes in Indiana on Tuesday to lobby the state legislature for more pay as part of the “#Red for Ed Action Day.”
“More than half of the school districts in the state closed their doors Tuesday for Red for Ed, with some converting the day into either an e-learning day or an employee workday. And teachers attended from all ends of the state, some leaving as early as 5 a.m. to drive to Indianapolis,” the Indianapolis Star reported
Chanting “Red for Ed” and carrying signs, crowds formed around each side of the building starting early in the morning. Before 10 a.m. the crowd was shoulder to shoulder on the south lawn, waving signs as a band played and union leaders made remarks.
Organized by Indiana State Teachers Association and other labor groups, speakers called on lawmakers to make changes in public education, especially when it comes to teacher pay, holding districts harmless from poor performances on a new statewide test and for new professional development requirements to be repealed.
Fox 19 reported the crowd at the #Red for Ed rally was “more than 15,000.”
More than 15,000 teachers rallied at the statehouse in an effort to push lawmakers to make changes to education.
The majority of Indiana schools were closed on Tuesday for Red for Ed Action Day. The Indiana State Teachers Association calls it a historic day for education.
“The children of Indiana are counting on us, and we will not let them down,” said Indiana State Teachers Association President Keith Gambill to a crowd of people dressed in red from head to toe. “It’s time to respect teachers’ time and professional knowledge.”
Educators at the rally said you can’t put students first if you put teachers last. The crowd of red showed up by the thousands to get lawmakers inside the statehouse to hear them loud and clear. Educators from more than 145 districts across the state say kids notice that teachers are being overworked and underpaid.
#RedForEd Action Day continues into the streets. A #march followed the #rally with teachers and allies spilling onto Capitol Avenue as passing cars honk their support. #Indianapolis pic.twitter.com/qyTJCh9iKB
— FOX59 News (@FOX59) November 19, 2019
As the Indianapolis Star reported, the Indiana State Teachers Association, which represents the public school teachers participating in the “#RedforEd Action Day” rally, has three key political objectives it wants to accomplish with the state legislature:
- It wants an investment from the state in teacher pay.
- It wants lawmakers to make good on a promise to hold schools and teachers harmless from state test scores, which dropped sharply when the state introduced the new ILEARN test in the spring.
- It wants a new professional development requirement repealed.
Public schools in South Bend, Indiana, the city of just over 100,000 whose mayor, Pete Buttigieg, is now among the top tier of Democratic presidential contenders, were among those that closed on Tuesday.
Buttigieg and nine other 2020 contenders for the Democrat presidential nomination will debate in Atlanta on Wednesday night.
As Breitbart News reported in February, the #RedforEd movement, which began in Arizona in March 2018, “threatens to tilt the political balance nationwide in the direction of Democrats across the country as Republicans barely hang on in key states that they need to hold for President Donald Trump to win re-election and for Republicans to have a shot at retaking the House and holding onto their Senate majority.”
All of the leading Democrats running for president have been fully supportive of #RedforEd teachers engaging in political activism.
While leaders of the teachers union and the #RedforEd movement are focused on issues that include more pay for teachers and additional support staff, the 2019 Nation’s Report Card released last month concluded that among the country’s 4th grade and 8th grade students there has been “no progress in either mathematics or reading performance” in the past decade.