Join the rally July 17 in Austin

 July 4, one of my friends tagged me in a Facebook post from Troy Reynolds. The post read:

TIME FOR US TO PUT OUR MONEY WHERE OUR MOUTH IS. You want a rally? We have a rally. Texans for Public Education, along with ATPE, Pastors For Texas Children, TAMSA, Austin Voices for Education and Youth, Friends of Texas Public Schools, and several other pending partners will hold a rally on the south steps of the Texas Capitol Building at 1:30 pm on July 17, the day before the special session. The worst thing we can do is schedule this and not show up, so if it is possible at all, we ALL need to be there and show them that teachers ARE ACTIVATED! It's going to be hot, so dress cool and bring chairs.

Speaker list is not finished, but Rev. Charlie Johnson from Texas Pastors, and Theresa Trevino from TAMSA will be speaking. We will announce more names as we confirm them. Start spreading the word, folks. You want to make noise? Here's your chance. We either put up or shut up, because the reservation with capitol events has already been confirmed!

Share, share, share!

I immediately reached out to Troy to learn more about the rally. Troy is the Splendora ISD director of curriculum and federal programs. He also founded Texans for Public Education. I asked Troy about the rally. Although the rally’s focus is not TRS vs. ERS, it is about the overall assault on public education and those who work in the public education system.

“We need to put some pressure on some people to do the right thing,” Troy told me, “and to empower those who already are.” Troy immediately referred to Speaker of the House Joe Straus and Rep. Dan Huberty, chair of the Public Education Committee, as heroes of public education. There aren’t many of those in the current legislature, Troy confirmed.

“We need to vote for the ones who are friendly to us,” he continued, “and vote out the ones who aren’t.” By “us,” Troy was referring to everyone committed to public education.

Besides Rev. Johnson, founder and executive director of Pastors for Texas Children” and Theresa Trevino, president of Texans Advocating for Meaningful Student Assessment, other confirmed speakers at the rally include Mike Lee, interim superintendent for Higgins ISD, Gary Godsey, executive director of the Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE), and Louis Malfaro, president of Texas AFT. (Hopefully, Tim Lee, executive director of Texas Retired Teachers Association, about whom I wrote Part V of this series, will be added to the confirmed list of speakers.)

As Troy mentioned in his Facebook post, the rally is being held July 17, the day before the start of the Special Session. The rally has been dubbed Wear Red for Ed, and everyone attending has been asked to wear red. The rally will last no more than 90 minutes, giving all those in attendance plenty of time to converge on the capitol to talk to as many state representatives and senators as possible.

“We need to flood the building,” Troy said. “One of our most pro-education reps, Ernest Bailes, will serve Big Red soda to anyone who visits his office at the capitol. He’s calling it Big Red for Ed.”

I urge all current and retired public school employees and all public school advocates to converge on Austin for this Wear Red for Ed Rally. We cannot sit back and watch the assaults on public education and public education employees any longer.

Let’s stand up. Let’s speak up. Let’s take action. Austin, here we come!

NOTE: To learn more about Texans for Public Education and to get involved, visit their website at texansforpubliceducation.com and their Facebook page.

Chris Ardis retired in May of 2013 following a 29-year teaching career. She now helps companies with business communications and social media and works as a sales coordinator for Tony Roma's and Macaroni Grill. Chris can be reached at cardis1022@aol.com.