Graphic by Valerie Wang
March for Our Schools rally pushes for more education funding
March 29, 2019
On March 11, 2019, thousands of students, teachers, administrators, and parents gathered in Annapolis for the March for Our Schools rally. They advocated for more state funding of education, as schools across the state are underfunded by $2.9 billion.
Among these people were mainly educators, who wore red and participated in the rally at the Maryland State Education Association headquarters in Annapolis, Maryland. Along with fighting for the education of each student in the state, educators rallied for the underpayment of teachers and the lack of other specialists.
Parents also joined educators in rallying for more funding, and pointed toward the lack of mental health resources for many students. They also protested the large class sizes that prevent students from receiving the most beneficial education. In addition, many were protesting for better school building conditions, citing outdated equipment and dwindling air conditioning units.
“It is inspiring to see parents and teachers working together to alleviate an annual burden that falls just on the teachers,” said junior Elizabeth Haupt. Teachers also emphasized that the counselor to student ratio was irrational, as it currently stands at 1:715, while the national average is 1:250.
Higher payment for teachers was also a significant issue that was protesters focused on. Many wish to see a 1.5% increase in teacher pay, using slogans such as “Fund Our Schools” and “Schools Just Want to Have Funds” to emphasize their needs.
“This bill could have a positive impact if the degree of teachers who are hired increases, and when all stakeholders get together to collaborate the results could be very successful,” said mathematics teacher Carrie Gaffney.
The protesters also advocated pre-kindergarten funding, and ensuring that each student has the materials they need to lay a strong foundation for their future education. Although there is legislation on the table that would increase funding by $1 billion, it is not clear where this funding would come from.
For students and educators at RM, the rally signified strength in numbers and the desire to create change in education.