One of the most well-known school anthems of all time is “School’s Out” by Arizona rocker Alice Cooper. But a different band stole the spotlight this school year: The Red for Ed Band. It’s made up of hundreds of Arizona teachers, and they took center stage at the capitol during a massive teacher walkout for better school funding and pay. In the latest installment of KNAU’s series Eats and Beats, we hear from some of the band members who used music as an instrument of protest.
My name is Calle Treppiedi, I work in the Deer Valley Unified School District in Glendale, Arizona, teaching band choir and general music.
I got there Thursday which was the first day of the walkout. I had gotten there super early because I was with a friend who was carrying a Tuba. And we were live streaming the march as it was coming towards us. As soon as I saw that I thought ‘okay this is a lot bigger than any of us thought it would be’. And the band at one point was 120 to 130 people.
So the Twisted Sister’s song We’re not Gonna Take it, we really wanted to bring that in to show the solidarity that we had between Arizona and Oklahoma and all the other states that were working towards getting better teachers and better funding for are students.
Hello, I am Katlyn Leung. I am an elementary general music school teacher at Thomas.
It’s interesting because when we start playing you just see thousands of eyes turning towards us and going ‘oh yeah, there’s music here’. And suddenly being on stage was ‘oh, we are actually mattering to this movement’. It was amazing. It’s really hard to describe unless you were there.
The reason I decided to go down to Phoenix, why it mattered so much to me, was for my kids. I’ve only been teaching for four months but I’m already so invested in what my kids are doing. I’ve been buying things and saying ‘this would be a good supplement to my kids’.
My name is Emily Edison. I am a k-5 music teacher at Kinsey Inquiry and Discovery School. It’s an elementary school in Flagstaff.
Not all school districts in the state of Arizona even offer music programs or art or P.E. So when you talk about teacher cuts and school funding, you’re also talking about those programs, art, music, P.E. Things that are considered extra. As a music teacher, I don’t feel that they’re extra. I feel like they are core to the curriculum.
One of my favorite songs, it’s hard to choose. But I got tears in my eyes when we started singing When The Saints Go Marching In. And we changed the words to When Red for Ed Goes Marching Out. Just that melody and the power of that message. I start thinking about that now I get emotional.
We have rallied. We have seen how strong and powerful we are. And the voice we have is loud and we can be heard.