Stand Up For Education rallies
rock the state!
In spite of record-breaking blizzards and other distractions, thousands of Montanans rallied for public K-12 schools and higher education in March.
Parents, grandparents, students, teachers, administrators, classified employees, school board members, business folks, union members, and others joined forces to call for adequate state funding of education.
Regional Stand Up For Education rallies took place March 1 in Missoula, Bozeman, Kalispell, Butte, Billings, Great Falls, and Anaconda. Eastern Montanans gathered for the regional rally in Miles City on March 3. Helena held the last rally March 7. Thanks to all the Stand Up For Education coalition members who organized these rallies.
Rally participants signed thousands of cards for legislators and the governor, which were delivered March 28.
Superb news coverage
The rallies got superb media attention, with newspaper, television, and radio stations around the state covering each rally.
The newspaper stories (below) reflect the energy and the willingness of Montanans to work together, to give our children a bright future, to Stand Up For Education. All of these articles are well worth reading.
The key messages came through loud and clear: Montanans want adequate state funding for public education, preschool through grad school, and they want legislators to raise the revenue necessary to pay for it.
Here are excerpts from the extensive news coverage.
Missoula: "Hundreds decry education cuts"
Missoulian, March 2
It was billed as a rally for education, but by the time the event
at the University of Montana was over, it could have been called
an education revival. … Dick King, director of the Missoula Area
Economic Development Corp., recited the words of Tom Ridge, former
governor of Pennsylvania: "The state with the most education
wins." . . .Read full story.
Billings: "Public rallies for education"
Billings Gazette, March 3
People turned out from all over for the Stand Up For Education
rally Saturday. . . . .The MSU-B Student Union Ballroom was packed,
with a boisterous crowd of community leaders, citizens, legislators,
parents and children spilling into the hallways to make their support
known for more cash for education.
"It's about the kids," said Bruce Whittenberg, the event's
master of ceremonies. ... "We can take the path of despair
and frustration, or we can fund our schools, universities and colleges."
... Read full story.
Great Falls: "Crowd rallies for education"
Great Falls Tribune, March 2
... The crowd gathered to send the message that Montanans support
public education and lawmakers need to step up to the plate. ...
Rick Evans, president of the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, discussed the importance of education and its ties to the workforce. Read full story.
Kalispell: "Large crowd gathers to support funding"
Kalispell Daily Inter Lake, March 2
... Bob Nystuen, vice president at Glacier Bank, hammered home
the message: "Education is the cornerstone of our community,"
he said. "More and better educational opportunities create
a better economy. ... After all, it's only our kids' futures that
are at risk."... Read full
Bozeman: "Community pleads with lawmakers to raise
revenue for school funding"
Bozeman Daily Chronicle, March 2
Educators and community members gathered to send lawmakers a clear
message about school funding: "We must raise revenue,"
the group of about 250 recited in unison. "It is the rational,
responsible, and reasonable thing to do."
"To all our legislative leaders in this state: Inadequate
school funding has pushed (schools) to the brink," said Superintendent
Michael Redburn. "Be bold and we will stand with you."
... Read full story.
Miles City: "Education rally reaches crowd"
Miles City Star, March 4
... Businessman Tom Clarke emphasized the importance of education
to economic development and its flip side, the importance of economic
development to education. ... Read
Butte: "Butte shows support for schools"
Montana Standard, March 2
"Invest in the Dream" was the rallying cry for about
200 people who gathered at Butte's courthouse Saturday to increase
funding for K-12 schools and state universities. ... Read
Anaconda: "Thank you for standing up for my future"
We don't have news reports from the Anaconda rally, but rally captain Angela McLean reports a great turnout of 160. Ryan Dee, a Montana Tech student and Anaconda High School graduate, was a remarkable master of ceremonies.
Speakers, including local business people, educators, and legislators, rallied the audience to action and spoke about the importance of an educated workforce.
Two students teamed up for the perfect conclusion, saying simply,
"Thank you for standing up for my future."
Helena: "Push for education"
In spite of record-breaking snowfall (three feet), stranded cars, and subzero temperatures, over 100 stalwart souls attended the Helena regional rally March 7. The news media were not among them.
All Helena area legislators attended except one, who phoned in his regrets (he was snowed in). Several statewide elected officials attended as well.
Participants thanked their legislators (all of whom have supported better state funding), then pushed each other's cars out of the snow banks -- a fitting metaphor for the way Montanans work together!