Teachers Hold Longview Support Rally - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/14/06-Longview

Teachers Hold Longview Support Rally

More than 100 teachers and former educator met today in Longview to discuss pay raises, health care costs and retirement benefits.  The group held a rally at Maude Cobb Activity Center, where they gathered to show solidarity and let those running for public office know that they want changes to be made.  The event was held with the purpose of participants becoming united for the upcoming elections.

"We're here today to make sure that no Texas teacher is left behind. We feel that we have been left behind in salaries, retirement benefits and health care benefits," said Sabine ISD school teacher, Martha Wright.

Their campaign is called No Texas Teacher Left Behind and the group is angry over the states' failure to treat teachers fairly, while asking more of them.  "I think teachers are upset. It's been six years since we've had a raise yet we've been given countless initiatives to raise standards, raise standards, raise standards, and we've met that," said Sabine Middle School teacher, Jan Doer.

Many long time educators say the meeting proves teachers are united in wanting state government to change. "Their retirement system currently is $13 billion under funded. The teachers retired today and those retiring in the future will probably never see a cost of living raise," said group organizer Bo Camp.

Numerous political candidates addressed the group, supporting change in teachers' benefits, including some former teachers themselves.  "We're in a pathetic situation right now. The teachers do not get the same benefits as other state employees as they should," said former teacher Ben Z. Grant, who's running for Lieutenant Governor.

The group plans to become politically active and get all teachers in Texas to vote in the November elections.

Bob Hallmark reporting, bhallmark@kltv.com

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