Parents and teachers alike will “Take on Tallahassee” in hopes of improving the quality of public education in the state of Florida. The rally will be held Jan. 13 in the state capital of Tallahassee and is open to teachers and parents.
“The objective is to get the state of Florida to wake up to the plight of the profession of teaching in our state,” said math teacher and Brevard Federation of Teachers building rep Steven Thomas.
The Florida Education Association says it is sponsoring this rally to give all students qualified teachers, smaller classes, better equipment, safer schools, and a well rounded education that includes art and physical education.
“I’m hopeful that it will be successful,” Thomas said. “I’m confident it’s going to be something positive because it’s going to raise the awareness of what’s happening to public education in the state of Florida, which is everything bad and we’ve gone so far down in terms of the support we have that we’re low on teachers, low on [substitute teachers], low on bus drivers and low on cafeteria workers. The common denominator is that teaching isn’t a healthy profession or a healthy institution.”
The rally is intentionally held on the eve of the opening of the 2020 legislative session.
“We want [our legislators] to have in the forefront of their mind that what they do up there directly affects the teaching profession and education as a whole, including the [education] budget they are going to approve,” Thomas said.
The goal is to have 50,000 teachers and parents garner support for public education.
“We’re going to raise awareness just by the sheer number of people if we get the objective of 50,000 teachers in Tallahassee,” Thomas said. “The largest rally in Tallahassee is 10,000 people so if we get 50,000, we’re going to make a statement. We’re going to be wearing ‘Red for Ed’, so it will be very obvious to even a casual observer that we’re there to get [our legislators] to understand the plight of education in Florida and to do something about it.”
Civics teacher Chloe Radd will join Thomas as the two participants from West Shore to attend the rally.
By Michael Stewart