Red for Ed
Grassroots Campaign Gains Momentum Across Canada Article
January 15, 2020
Originating in the United States in 2018, Red for Ed is a grassroots movement in support of public education that is gaining momentum throughout Canada, including Alberta.
The “Red for Ed” campaign is a grassroots movement advocating for the proper funding of public education, smaller class sizes and equitable salary increases for teachers. The campaign originated in 2018 and gained momentum during a series of contentious labour actions by U.S. education workers and the National Education Association (NEA). The strikes were based on pay and deteriorating working conditions, and teachers would often wear red shirts to demonstrate their solidarity. Many believe the colour choice represents school budgets being “in the red.”
The wearing of red soon became a symbol of advocacy for all teachers and education workers facing these challenges. Supporters were urged to wear red every Wednesday.
The campaign soon crossed the border into Canada when Ontario’s Ford government began pushing through changes that would negatively impact classrooms. The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (EFTO) embraced the movement and asked supporters to wear red on Fridays. B.C. teachers soon joined the battle after their provincial government balanced the books at the cost of public education. A 2019 B.C. provincial budget shortfall of $84.17 million spawned their “Red for BC Ed” movement.
This fall, after the provincial government released a budget that included a $275 million shortfall in education, Alberta teachers started joining the crusade with the #Red4EdAB campaign.
The campaign, which involves wearing red on Fridays, aims to send a message to the UCP government that Albertans deserve a fully funded public education system, smaller class sizes and equitable salary increases for teachers. ❚
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