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Anticipated crowd size for ‘Red For Ed’ Rally growing

ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WPTA21) – About 100 Indiana school districts are canceling classes November 19th, as thousands of teachers prepare to head to the state capital for a big public education rally.

At the time of this report, districts in Allen County were not planning to shut down, though pressure to close may build over the coming days.

The president of the Fort Wayne Community Schools teachers union told us close to 600 teachers in the district already are calling off for next Tuesday, so they can travel to the Statehouse for the “Red for Ed” rally.

It’s not the first time this kind of rally for public education has been held in the halls of state government.

This one is looking like a bigger deal.

Mid-afternoon Tuesday, more than 11,000 people statewide had registered to show up.

Teachers have a clear agenda.

“The funding of public schools, teacher salaries, getting rid of the excessive testing, making sure we don’t have ridiculous accountability requirements,” said Sandra Vohs, the president of the Fort Wayne Education Association, the teachers union for FWCS.

At last check, Southwest Allen, Northwest Allen, and East Allen County Schools were planning to stay open, encouraging teachers to wear red, expecting enough of them would still show up to allow classes to go on like normal.

Teacher ‘no shows’ in Fort Wayne Community Schools appear to be going up by the minute.

“We may have to do some re-thinking, the district will have to decide if they can keep the doors open that day,” Vohs said.

If local schools wind up closing, it will force some parents to scramble to make childcare arrangements.

That concerns Rose Caro.

“There are a lot of parents who work full-time, sometimes two jobs, just to make enough money to put food on the table, and now they’re going to have to pay for childcare for so many kids, because teachers are down in Indy at this rally,” Caro said.

FWCS board member Steve Corona, who supports the idea behind “Red for Ed”, says advocates for more public school funding and increased teacher pay, need to broaden their vision, working to put in new elected officials that might be more sympathetic to their views.

“We have to hold high the example of what happened in Kentucky, and move forward, but we need a plan,” Corona said.

The Indiana State Teachers Association will be asking state lawmakers to boost teacher pay and endorse other changes they seek, the same day of the “Red For Ed” rally.

Jeff Neumeyer

Jeff Neumeyer is a reporter for WPTA.

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