SAN ANTONIO – More than 275 teachers, administrators and parents started their spring break by traveling to Austin on Monday to stage what's expected to be one of the largest rallies at the state Capitol in years.
The group gathered at the Blossom Athletic Center at dawn to board several buses for the trip.
"We will be fighting for our education for public schools," said Shelley Potter, president of the San Antonio Alliance of Teachers and Support Personnel.
Wanda Longoria, president of Northside American Federation Of Teachers, said lawmakers should expect a large crowd of educators.
"We predict this will be one of the largest and most important rallies on the Capitol in recent years," she said.
Longoria said the group will ask lawmakers to pass the following legislation:
- Enact changes to standardized testing.
- Restore billions of dollars in cuts to public education and restore a $1,000 health care stipend for all public school employees and increased state contribution to the Teacher Retirement System.
- Approve an across-the-board pay raise for teachers to put Texas teacher pay on par with the national average, including nurses, librarians and counselors.
- Abandon ill-conceived "performance pay" programs that waste much-needed resources and act as an unfair and divisive means of compensation.
Potter said some of the teachers have been taking part in rallies in Austin for the past 20 years when the Texas Legislature is in session.
When asked if the group has seen results from meeting with lawmakers, Potter said, "We have. I think legislators are finally listening. More and more people in our community are waking up and understanding the importance of public education."
Buses are filling up, headed to Austin. Some of the top priorities public education advocates want talked about include (but not limited to)— KSAT Max Massey (@MaxMasseyTV) March 11, 2019
-changes to standardized tests
-Restore billions of dollars in cuts to public education
-Approve an across-the-board pay raise for teachers pic.twitter.com/behrtwBj57