ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — It’s the last weekend in the 2017 legislative session and state educators made their voices heard at the State Capitol.
Hundreds gathered in the rotunda to call on lawmakers to invest in public education.
This rally was planned for several weeks but it comes just days after Gov. Mark Dayton vetoed an education bill that would have changed the teacher licensure process. That vote was met with large support from teacher unions.
The rotunda at the Capitol echoed the demands of education Minnesota and hundreds of local teachers.
“We work with all students. We must therefore pair our high expectations with high help so that they will have the tools that they need to succeed not only in school, but in life,” Central Park Elementary teacher Maria Le said.
People rallied to show their support for investing in public education. The gathering comes two days after Dayton vetoed a bill to overhaul the state’s teacher licensure system.
“If you don’t have the training to teach, it makes it really difficult for you to reach your students. And they’re undermining that process that teachers should go through,” Blaine High School teacher Sarah Spleiss said.
Dayton said the bill needed additional funding and that the system needs to meet more rigorous standards. At the rally people held up signs that read, “Kids over tax breaks.”
“How do I explain to my children that teachers or programs are being cut at their schools when when they know there is money,” EIU member Amanda Reineck said.
The rally concluded with the delivery of hundreds of handwritten notes to the governor asking him to hold strong on funding public schools and to not lower licensing standards for teachers.
All of the teachers said while their fight to protect the system is a challenge, their job is worth it.
“I don’t know that there is language to describe how hard it is to be a teacher. But if you care about it, doesn’t matter, you’ll show up anyway,” Spleiss said.
The state teacher’s union Education Minnesota has said they want governor Dayton to hold firm on not changing the licensure system even if it meant not finishing the session on time.
The last day of session is Monday.