Thousands of Maryland educators demand more money for schools at rally in Annapolis

Maryland teachers were fired up on the streets of Annapolis Monday for the March For Our Schools. Thousands of educators gathered for the massive rally demanding more money for public education.

Specifically, educators are pushing for legislation in the General Assembly that would provide an extra $1 billion for education over the next two years, increasing teacher pay and expanding pre-Kindergarten.

"It would mean the world," said Montgomery County teacher Carol Moretz of the funding hike. "It would mean we have enough materials for every student."

While all school systems would stand to gain, those districts with a lot of low-income students would benefit most. Prince George's County Public Schools says it would get $50 million next school year if the legislation becomes law.

PGCPS let out two hours early Monday so employees and students could attend the march and 55 school buses provided transportation to Annapolis. A group of student government members from Parkdale High School were among the attendees.

"We're not going to be in high school forever so it's like, we have to ensure that we're doing something now to make sure that the classes coming after us can reap from what we sow," said student Jumoke Oni.

That $1 billion is just the start. A state commission dedicated to reshaping Maryland schools called the Kirwan Commission says billions more are needed over the next decade. But right now, there's no identified funding source.

Christopher Summers, president and CEO of the conservative research group Maryland Public Policy Institute calls the idea "reckless."

"This is nothing more than a march for higher taxes," Summers said.

Prince George's County teacher Wilfred Dyson says if even if there is a tax increase, it's worth it for a better-educated society.

"I think that in the long run, it'll work out more than it will hurt anyone," Dyson said.