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On the eve of the N.C. General Assembly going into short session, students and parents at Davidson Elementary School took advantage of their First Amendment rights. Donning red shirts, rally participants held signs and chanted support on the morning of May 13 for their teachers, emphasizing higher wages and fewer standardized tests.

As red-clothing clad staff arrived to school, participants cheered and expressed their appreciation for them. “It’s important to value our teachers and show how they make a difference,” said parent Holly Becker, who organized the rally. “We want to cheer on teachers and raise morale.”

The Davidson Elementary Advocacy Committee organized the event, modeled in part after the “Red for Public Ed” campaign that started in Raleigh last summer. The committee was formed this spring by parents concerned about the state of public school in North Carolina. The group, which has a website and Facebook page, lobbies for less testing, developmentally appropriate standards and higher teacher salaries.

“Teaching in a classroom is more challenging with larger classes and fewer assistants,” Becker said. “Teacher assistants have had their hours cut throughout the state and there is more standardized testing. It’s a challenging job to have.”