Allen County teachers, school districts to take part in Red for Ed Action Day

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — On November 19, thousands of Indiana teachers, including some from Allen County, will throw on red clothes and travel to Indianapolis to rally for more resources for teachers and students in the state, on what they call Red for Ed Action Day.

It is not the first time educators have taken to the capitol, but it is the largest demonstration they’ve had to date.

“At this point we have about 6,600 registered and the numbers keep climbing all the time,” said Steve Brace, UniServ Director for the Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA). Brace says just a couple of days ago only 2,100 teachers were signed up. At this rate, he expects the number to grow rapidly before the rally.

Over 30 schools in Indiana have decided to close that day so that teachers can attend. Brace said they have gained so much momentum this time around because teachers and administrators alike are more frustrated than ever by issues like testing standards and mandatory externships, which require teachers and administrators to spend 15 hours at an non-school related business in order to renew their teaching license. They are also calling for more funds to be pushed towards education.

“They’re irritated, they’re anxious, they’re angry about what’s happening with testing, about what’s happening with funding, and all the additional demands that have been put on teachers and public schools, and public school students.”

Brace said they are not just asking for change. The ISTA is offering up suggestions to help fix the problem.

“Indiana has a large surplus,” said Brace. “Can’t some of that money be used to help fund public schools, especially school corporations that got no money and are having to use referendums as a way to survive, as a band-aid remedy.”

Not every Fort Wayne teacher will be able to go, but the teachers association and local schools are working together to show a united front on the issue. Fort Wayne Community and East Allen County school districts will both stage walk-ins the morning of.

“As a group, we’ll be wearing red,” said Andra Kosmoski, President of the East Allen Educators Association. “We’ll be having our signs, we’ll be showing the support and then when the contract day time starts, we’ll all walk in together.”

As for covering the shifts of teachers who will be down at the State House Kosmoski said rally or not, that is a problem they face daily.

“Even when we only have a few people out of the building we have trouble getting substitutes in the building but it’s gotten to the point where we need to be speaking up for our kids, for our students, and this is the way that we need to do it.”

SB: “They’re irritated, they’re anxious, they’re angry about what’s happening with testing, about what’s happening with funding, and all the additional demands that have been put on teachers and public schools, and public school students.”

“Even when we only have a few people out of the building we have trouble getting substitutes in the building and so it’s always an issue, but it’s gotten to the point where we need to be speaking up for our kids, for our students, and this is the way that we need to do it.”

Fort Wayne Community and East Allen County districts are inviting the public to join their staff and students in the walk-in’s. They are scheduled to take place on November 19 at all the schools in those districts about 15 minutes before the teachers’ start time.

The Red for Ed rally in Indianapolis comes on the heels of a teachers rally in Chicago last month. States including West Virginia and Wisconsin have seen strikes from their teachers for similar reasons in the past few years.

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