TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A loud, passionate gathering of educators from around the state descended on Tallahassee on Monday, demanding lawmakers to prioritize funding for public education.
Thousands of teachers, school staff, students and parents marching on Florida’s State Capitol to send a clear message to lawmakers ahead of the next legislative session.
“Our students deserve better, our public schools need to be funded better and there are thousands of people here saying we care about our kids,” said Anthony Colucci, President, Brevard Federation of Teachers.
The “Take On Tallahassee” rally demanding lawmakers increase funding for public schools, end over-testing and give every school employee a 10 percent raise.
“Especially when you have Governor Ron DeSantis now talking about teacher pay but him narrowing the conversation down to just entry-level teachers, today you’re gonna see teachers of all levels, coming out and saying that’s not good enough,” said Anna Eskamani, Florida House of Representatives, District 47.
Brevard County educator Anthony Colucci says low teacher wages, is causing a teacher vacancy crisis in Florida.
“We are 46th in the nation in average teacher pay, we are far behind the national average, our teachers deserve better, we have thousands of instructional vacancies statewide,” said Colucci.
“We’ve seen an exodus from the field due to a lack of livable wages, lack of leadership development opportunities,” said Eskamani.
Florida Representative Anna Eskamani says available funds, isn’t the problem.
“We don’t have a financial fiscal problem in Tallahassee but we do have a prioritization problem, we tend to put money into areas where those entities shouldn’t have money,” said Eskamani.
“It’s amazing to me, that they say this is the Sunshine State, well, if this is the Sunshine State, then take the teachers out of the shade,” said Reverend Al Sharpton, Civil Rights Activist.
Eskamani, hoping that changes, this year.
“I really hope that my Republican colleagues are listening and that as we debate issues like teacher pay, testing of our students, that these are the voices prioritized throughout the legislative session,” said Eskamani.