Teachers, parents rally for school funding

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Teachers, including two from West Shore, gathered in the state’s capital on Jan. 13 to protest underfunding of public schools and teacher pay. Florida teacher pay is in the bottom 10 nationally and most districts are experiencing a teacher shortage.  The Brevard Federation of Teachers area teachers with buses that allowed them to make the five-hour journey to and from  Tallahassee.

Social studies teacher Choe Radd  joined thousands of teachers and parents, who marched from the Tallahassee Convention Center to the state Capital as a show of strength on the opening day of this year’s legislative session.

“I feel like it was an opportunity too great to miss,” Radd said. “I’ve been to some small [rallies], but this was by far the best organized and the largest.”

The rally received national attention, shining a light on myriad educational concerns.

“As a state, we’ve been ranked between the 45th and 48th as far as pay compared nationally and something needs to change,” Radd said.

Ava Haroulakis (9) said she supported the event.

“I’ve seen a lot of schools that don’t have enough money to afford the latest textbooks and don’t have Chromebooks or other technological advances in their schools,” she said. ” It’s strange how little teachers get paid when they pretty much build our society and train us for the future.”

Math teacher Steve Thomas was West Shore’s other faculty representative at the rally.

By Reilly Stein