Educators and advocates march to Capitol in a pre-rally for more pay

Public education rally and march to Florida's Old Capitol. Credit: Issac Morgan

Educators, students and other advocates dressed in red t-shirts marched to the Old Capitol in Tallahassee, part of a rally for pay increases for public school teachers and staff and other school improvements.

Hundreds of kids, teachers and education advocates met at the Donald Tucker Civic Center in Tallahassee for a pre-rally, with guest speakers giving motivational speeches before the crowd.

Public education rally. Credit: Issac Morgan

The rally was held a day before the Florida legislative session.

Staff provided snacks such as hot dogs and chips and beverages before marching to the Capitol.

Groups of people wearing red t-shirts and holding signs with different message advocating for workers in public education chanted for their voices to be heard.

Public education rally. Dogs allowed. Credit: Issac Morgan

Animals were welcome.

One sign read “I like big budgets,” referencing more funding for public education in the state.

The marchers were shouting that they were going to the Capitol to demand for better pay for all in education. And one speaker also noted that his pay is very poor.

They introduced the speakers for the official rally at 2 p.m., while encouraging everyone to post social media to notify Florida legislators that they are here.

“We’re going to walk down Madison st. And close the streets… they know we’re coming,” a speaker said to the crowd in the gymnasium.

Florida Democratic Party chair Terrie Rizzo released a statement of support, saying:

“Today, Florida ranks as one of the ten worst states for teacher pay. It is time for our Republican-controlled legislature to stop forcing public schools to compete with for-profit charter schools for public funds. Our schools are facing a teacher shortage crisis: At the beginning of this school year, over 300,000 students lacked a full-time, permanent teacher, students face over-testing, and Florida communities in poverty face a punitive system instead of the investment they need. Teachers and students today demand real support of our public schools, not just lip service from Republicans in charge of the budget.”