Teachers prepare for ‘all out’ rally at the statehouse for education reform

Updated: Apr. 25, 2019 at 11:50 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Educators want to make sure that this isn’t identified as a “walk out” where they leave their classrooms and refuse to come back until their demands are met. They’re calling this an “all out.” They say it’s about letting folks at the statehouse know that they’re asking for real change and they need policymakers to pay attention.

Teachers say substantial education reform is long overdue in South Carolina, and now they want a seat at the table to help lawmakers move things forward.

“Many of our problems, there are solutions to them,” said Richland County teacher Chris Hass. “We need people who work towards those solutions.”

Solutions for issues that include growing class sizes, low teacher pay, and retaliation against educators who speak out.

Hass will be standing with his fellow educators for next week’s “All Out” at the statehouse. He says the event is all about making sure legislators know that teachers in our state are united and looking for progress.

“Your children deserve a quality education. You deserve teachers in the classroom who don’t have 30 or 25 kids,” Hass said. “You deserve teachers who are supported. Who don’t come in and have early care and then go straight to the classroom for the day, and they don’t have any planning…and they don’t have any lunch, and then they have meetings after school. When is the preparing happening?”

A question that educators are hoping lawmakers will have the answer to when they head to the Statehouse steps next Wednesday.

Some critics of the All Out say they believe teachers should stay in the classroom that day instead of rallying. Educators like Hass say that mindset won’t enact change.

“I’d say that’s a very short sided vision of what’s going on right now,” Hass “If we allow a continuation of the same problematic things that have been happening with legislation in our schools, we’re setting our kids up for failure over and over and over.”

Teachers say they’re overworked, underpaid, and short on resources and time. They’re asking lawmakers to hear them out…and change it.

“I don’t think we’re a special interest that they think much of,” Hass said. “I think this year you’ve seen a lot of difference because we’ve been doing everything we can to make sure we’re heard.”

Teachers who I’ve spoken with say this all comes down to your kids, and the quality of education that they want them to have.

They’re asking that anyone who’d like to show support for their cause to join them next Wednesday at the statehouse. That event is from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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