The Plymouth Schools Administration made a decision early this week to cancel classes on November 19 to support teachers planning to attend the Red for Ed Rally at the Statehouse on November 19. According to Superintendent Andy Hartley, the day will be made up on January 20 (Martin Luther King , Jr. Day). Hartley said the date was built into the school calendar as a day that school would be closed unless it was needed as a makeup day.
Hartley said, “By closing school for the day, we are showing support. Collectively teachers, administration, and the school board working together can have a positive effect.” He added, “It is a chance to make a difference.”
More than 35 schools around the state have already cancelled classes or plan to hold E Learning Days as well.
Hartley said that as of November 11th, 70 teachers had requested the day off. The decision to close rather than institute an E Learning day that some schools around the state are using was made, in part, in consideration of the classified staff not missing a day of work and not adding additional responsibilities for teachers.
According to Laura Kruyer, PEA (Plymouth Education Association) Co-President, they have arranged for a charter bus that holds 56 passengers. Kruyer said they are looking at additional options in case the bus gets filled and there are more teachers needing transportation.
Kruyer said, “The ISTA (Indiana State Teachers Association) is helping to organize the Red for Ed Action Day. November 19 is a rally in support of public education. It is about our community and our students.” “A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit several prominent Marshall County businesses as part of the school’s Manufacturing Day. These businesses play such a vital role in local economy. At each place, I asked how many employees that business has. The numbers were 80, 120, and 100 respectively. It got me thinking at PCSC.” she said, Kruyer added, “The school corporation has about 500 employees. The corporation is one of the largest employers in the county. “Our public schools are an important part of the local economy. Our public schools need adequate funding to be able to hire quality teachers and provide programs and job training to help students become productive members of society.”
Kruyer noted, “Approximately, ninety percent of students go to public school. Our students and communities deserve more. This rally is for them.”
The November 19 date was chosen to coincide with the Indiana General Assembly “Organization Day”. On that day, both state senators and House members will be gathering ahead of the 2020 session. Teachers had organized a rally in March; however, it was held on a Saturday when not all members were on site. The rally hours have been set as 8:30 A.M. to 2:00 P.M.
Among other items, teachers plan to speak to legislators about teacher compensations, being held harmless for I-Learn, and repealing PGP/Externship Requirements.
On November 7, there were reportedly 7,000 teachers registered to attend the rally. By November 11, the numbers had grown to some 10,000.
Carol Anders Corespondent