AUSTIN, Texas - If you were in Downtown Austin Monday morning, you very likely heard a caravan of teachers and school staff advocating.
Some teachers and staff in the state are demanding better pay and better protections against COVID-19, just to name a few.
"We want to make sure we are keeping our families, our students, and employees safe. Don't cut funding, we need the money," said Ken Zarifis, president of Education Austin. "If you believe in public education, Texas legislature and Governor Abbott, then you'll do like our president did and go big on supporting our country. Go big on supporting Texas educators and employees."
They also believe STAAR testing shouldn't even be taking place, especially now. "We don't need high stakes testing in a pandemic," said Selena Castillo, teacher, and member of Manor American Federation of Teachers.
The pandemic uprooted our way of life, including education. Teachers have gone to virtual learning, and some places are beginning to welcome kids back to campus.
"Governor Abbott, hear us today. Turn things around. It is not time to return to business as usual," said Dan Wright with Education Round Rock.
Wright believes if teachers need to return to a classroom in person, they should be better protected and accommodated. "We would like teachers not to face punitive reprisals for taking their earned time. We are asking for there to be nurses on staff for every campus," he said.
Texas will be receiving money through the American Rescue Plan. These teachers are hoping the governor and lawmakers fully fund the public school system.