By Meredith Barnett
Educators across America are seeing red – in more ways than one.
Spurred by attacks on education and workers’ rights across the country, teachers and education support professionals are showing their solidarity with the Wear Red for Public Ed campaign.
The effort kicked off Jan. 4, when a group of Florida teachers and parents encouraged colleagues to don red in protest of their state government’s controversial education proposals, including slashing teacher tenure.
“Wearing red might push the doors open – if even just a crack – of those making all the decisions regarding public education,” writes Janotta in a recent EdVoices post. “When they look up and see a sea of red, perhaps they will realize how many people truly do support public education and, therefore, may not be as willing to go along with all of the current ‘reforms’ as was thought.”
The campaign has caught on nationwide, with teachers wearing red every Tuesday. Educators from schools across the country have sent pictures of themselves in garnet garb to the Wear Red for Public Ed Facebook group. Supporters are encouraged to change their Facebook profile page to the initiative’s logo and tweet about events using the Twitter hashtag #WearRedforEd.
And, in light of recent state battles against unions, teachers have begun using their red motif to stand for embroiled public workers.
On Feb. 26, Pennsylvania educators held a rally in Harrisburg in support of fellow public employees in Wisconsin. Both attendees of the rally and teachers in classrooms across Pennsylvania wore red, of course.
Mary Wills (above at right), a teacher at Harrisburg’s Rowland School, says she wore red to show her support for Wisconsin’s union members, but also to remind educators and community members how important it is for them to band together and speak up.
“In the words of many and Ben Franklin, ‘We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately,’” Wills said.