Uploaded on Mar 14, 2011
Well over 11,000 parents, teachers, educators and community leaders from over 300 independent school districts converged at the state capital in Austin on Saturday, March 12.
"Today, Texans have come together in great numbers and have sent a very strong, clear message to our elected officials that we must do better by the children of our state by funding education to the maximum extent possible," says Allen Weeks of Save Texas Schools, the grassroots coalition organizing the rally, and director of Austin Voices for Education and Youth.
"And it's not over with this rally. We're going to continue our fight to keep Texas smart."
After a drum line led blocks of rally-goers on a march starting from Waterloo Park to the Capital grounds, a fantastic line-up of speakers and performers made heartfelt pleas for education.
"We live in the 21st century. We have a global economy," said Julian Castro, Mayor of San Antonio, in his podium address. "Here in Texas I wonder how long the fortune 500 companies will stick around if we can't produce the students who can compete,"
Superintendent John-Kuhn of Perrin-Whitt, CISD, rollicked the crowds with his impassioned speech, saying: "Public school teachers, you are the saviors of this society. You are the first responders standing in this rubble while they sit in their offices and scribble judgmentally on their clipboards. You are heroes and what you do isn't worth $27 billion; it is priceless."
In a unified voice, rally participants urged legislators to take three critical steps to help close state budget gaps that are threatening education:
Use the $9.3 billion Texas "Rainy Day" Fund to help rescue schools from the current crisis. Sign the paperwork for $830 million in federal aid for teachers. Fix school funding laws to be fair to all districts and our growing student population.
After the rally, Save Texas Schools offered a training to those who plan to continue to work for public education across the state. Topics covered included how to keep the grassroots effort growing, how the legislative process works, and how education is funded in Texas.
To learn more please visit: http://savetxschools.org
Filmed, Edited & Produced for Austin Indymedia by Jeff Zavala.
A ZGraphix production.