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TEACHERS AND STUDENTS RALLY FOR RED FOR ED

As many Indiana schools around the state closed yesterday, November 19, to allow teachers to travel to the Statehouse to show their support for Indiana educators and students in the “Red for Ed” movement, Wabash City Schools elected to send several teachers as representatives to Indianapolis yet remain open, using this day as an opportunity to educate students on the issue.  Teachers and students wore red in support of education and rallied together towards the end of the school day in the high school gym to take part in the program.
 
Mr. Burns speaks at Red for Ed Rally at WHSIn planning Tuesday’s event, high school principal Kyle Wieland reflected over his goals for students, staff, and public awareness: “I want to provide support for our students and our teachers,” Mr. Wieland said. “Our students deserve a quality education that prepares them for their post-secondary plans.  Wieland also expressed concern for high stakes testing, additional requirements for teacher licensure, and the lack of proper funding, noting that without this funding, it is difficult for school corporations to provide programming, safe facilities, and quality teachers. “Our students deserve all three,” Wieland continued, “yet our state ranks near the bottom in funding public education…I hope that Red for Ed helps to inform our students, parents, and community members of where we are and where we should be.” Many students also attended the program to learn more about the issues facing education in Indiana or simply just to show their support.
Junior Lena Cordes shared her reasons for attending the program: “I knew it was an important issue that has currently resurfaced…I felt it was my duty as a student, and as a potential future educator, to listen and attempt to understand what advocates are trying to do…[teachers] are here every day for us, so I thought the least I can do…is to be there for them.”  Junior Simon Byers also chose to attend the program to be educated, as he put it, on his choice to wear red for the day. “Observing the passion and emotion that Red for Ed evokes,” Byers stated, “is something I was previously oblivious to and [the program] certainly accomplished the goal of raising my awareness.”
 
WHS Student speaks about value of public educationSpeakers at the program included sophomore Kiersten O’Neill, Mr. Wieland, and science teacher and Association president James Burns.  Mr. Burns educated students and staff on the primary goal of the movement, which he explained as “making schools the best they can be” by ensuring that teachers are compensated fairly and that schools are funded by the state.  “The state has put the priority on private education at the expense of public education and the reality is that most people go to public schools,” Mr. Burns informed.  “The state’s current model favors private education for a few people (more likely wealthy) over the majority of people.”  Now that students have had the opportunity to learn more about the Red for Ed movement, Mr. Burns hopes that students are encouraged to go out and start conversations about the problem.  Overall, Mr. Burns considers yesterday’s program a success because of the number of students who chose to attend. “So often students are focused on what is happening outside of school,” Mr. Burns stated,  “and anytime students are willing to be a part of making their school better it makes me happy.”