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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF/AP) — More than a thousand Florida teachers marched around the Capitol courtyard Thursday, angry that the state has too many high-stakes tests and that educators aren’t paid enough.

Vicki Rodriguez, president of the St. Lucie Classroom Teachers Association, said about 50 of her colleagues left St. Lucie County at 3 p.m. Thursday to attend the rally.

Rodriguez said teachers are not respected by many lawmakers.

“The pay is poor,” Rodriguez said. “Morale is terrible. That affects kids. So we need to get our profession in this state to be able to do the job that we were actually trained to do, which is teach kids … not give tests.”

The teachers blasted the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott over everything from school funding to private school vouchers.

They chanted “enough is enough” and “vote them out” as rally organizers urged them to organize and vote in the upcoming 2016 elections.

“Our children are being cheated out of a high-quality education by policymakers and their education reforms that are designed to meet the needs of adults rather than students,” said Joanne McCall, president of the Florida Education Association teachers union.

The rally was put together by the FEA, which is the union that represents teachers.

The FEA has had a stormy relationship with GOP politicians for the last two decades, including former Gov. Jeb Bush. Bush was the architect of Florida’s contentious A-F school grading system.

Florida legislators are not expected to make any major changes to the state’s public schools during this year’s session.

The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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