MIAMI – A group of Miami-Date teachers ready for a fight for higher pay gathered for a rally at Tropical Park on Sunday night.
Nearly 1,000 teachers, who boarded 16 buses for a 10-hour bus ride to Tallahassee, had a sendoff that was also attended by Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Rep. Donna Shalala.
“We’re fighting for better pay so we can make cost of living," said Mayade Ersoff, a teacher. “We’re fighting for no testing, we’re fighting for class size amendment — even though we have a constitutional amendment that passed a few years ago — no one honors it. Our classes are huge.”
Shalala said she was proud to be with the teachers.
“I want you to harass Tallahassee,” Shalala said.
The local teachers will join thousands of others across the state in trying to push lawmakers to better pay and fund teachers.
“We’re tired of being 46th in the nation in terms of educational pay,” said Karla Hernandez-Mats, president of United Teachers of Dade. “We know that Miami-Dade Public Schools is a stellar district. We’re A-rated, yet we lack the resources and it’s because our lawmakers are not doing right by us.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis is pushing for a $600 million plan to raise the starting pay for new teachers by nearly $10,000.
But Annette Littlejohn, who’s been teaching for more than 35 years, said the plan does nothing for seasoned educators.
“I don’t approve of the plan right now,” Littlejohn said. “That’s why I’m going to Tallahassee.”
A large group of teachers from Broward County left Sunrise Monday morning to also head to Tallahassee.