‘Red4EdNC’ may just look like a jumble of letters and numbers; however, it represents a teacher organization in which teachers and supporters wear red in support of North Carolina education on Wednesdays.
It began in 2013, sparked by an open letter written by Angela Scioli, social studies teacher at Leesville, in response to budget cuts by the state government to education programs. “Essentially, all of us who support students, public education, the betterment of our state, we wear red to show support for our protest, every Wednesday, until we see better laws passed,” states Scioli in her letter.
Since the beginning of the movement, Red4Ed has grown, and today the organization has released a “Declaration in Defense of North Carolina’s Public Schoolchildren.” In this document, the Red4Ed Board of Directors and advisory board mimic the phrasing of the United States Declaration of Independence and address their grievances and propose solutions. Among those grievances:
- Failure to restore public education funding to levels from before the recession
- Firing more than 7,000 teacher assistants
- Increasing class sizes due to lack of funding
- Cuts in textbook budgets
- Increase in standardized testing
- Support of programs that segregate children along racial and economic lines
- Salaries for teachers that fall below national averages
The declaration then continues by suggesting solutions to the named grievances and issues, calling policymakers to support policies that benefit public education. As of mid-September, 587 teachers from across the state of North Carolina representing 104 out of 115 districts have signed to support the declaration.
Founder of the movement, Angela Scioli, and seven other Leesville teachers make up the board of directors for Red4EdNC. However, these teachers take caution not to mix school and personal opinions.
“While I might want students to know about Red4Ed, it’s not appropriate for me to, in any way, try to influence students way of thinking about politics,” said Scioli.
Whether students agree or disagree with the movement, Red4Ed advocates for their right to a quality public education.