More than 5,000 teachers checked into the “All Out” rally in Columbia Wednesday before 9:00am. The purpose; Advocate for Education Reform
It was a call for action by a group of thousands of teachers from across South Carolina and there were more people in attendance than expected.
As the saying goes, “there is power in numbers” and that definitely held true at the State House on Wednesday. Thousands of teachers parents, students and lawmakers were wearing red for education. Going “All Out” for education reform. Lining the streets between the State House and Department of Dducation hoping to deliver this message; “RedForEd”
The group, dressed in red, walked from the Superintendent’s office to the Governor’s office carrying signs reading “our students are the reason” and “WTF: Where’s The Funding”.
Davis Marret, middle school spanish teacher – “We need instruments, art supplies, our schools should be filled for students to find their creativity and passion in our schools. So I’m here for them.”
Teachers and parents alike say change is needed. “We need to be having the conversation about what children need in our classroom,” says Stacey Olson, a parent from Spartanburg “and stop blaming our teachers when not having the success.”
And for the massive crowd Wednesday in Columbia, that change isn’t just about pay.
Sheree Jackson, Richland school district One – “The problems I see in the classrooms strictly or directly deal with the numbers, discipline, and our students needing mental health counseling significantly.” And middle school teacher Davis Marret went on to say “I want smaller class sizes. I have 31 students in a class. I’d like under 25 so I can have time for that teacher student partnership.”
Teachers say their voices were left out of a bill more than 80 pages long passed in the South Carolina House. And for many teachers at Sednesday’s rally, it was their last time to use their teacher’s voice
“It’s breaking my heart. I still get tears.” Retiring teacher Patti Fisher says “I just signed the papers because this is what I’m meant to do. It’s my talent. But my health and sanity is just as important.”
The last day of session is may 9th and it’s unclear if any legislation related to education will pass, however the teachers in Columbia Wednesday say they hope this momentum continues until something is done