'Day of Action' held by NY teachers, union

Updated: 12/09/2013 9:32 PM
Created: 12/09/2013 7:43 AM WHEC.com
By: Associated Press

Teachers around New York wore blue and rallied for more funding and less testing Monday as part of a national "Day of Action" organized across numerous states.

"Today is about telling Albany and telling Washington that students are more than a test score and teachers are more than an evaluation," American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said at a rally in Nyack. "It's about getting our schools back, restoring trust and helping parents, teachers and communities do what's needed to help schools thrive."

Events also were held in Albany, Binghamton, Rochester, Syracuse, New York City, Yonkers, the Buffalo suburb of West Seneca, and at least two dozen other states.

While teachers, students, community groups and educators tailored their actions to states' individual concerns, a central theme across numerous states, including New York, Florida, Idaho and Iowa, was a call for more funding for public schools.

"It is time that New York steps up and provides my kids and every other student in this state with a quality education," said Buffalo parent Angelica Rivera. "These children are our future, and we need to invest in them."

In advance of the events, New York organizers published an open letter to state education leaders which, in addition to underfunding, decried a "lack of access to public higher education, rushed implementation of new standards and evaluations, an obsession with testing, lack of support for teaching and learning (and) insufficient staffing and layoffs."

Richard Iannuzzi, president of New York State United Teachers, said recent changes announced by SED, including the elimination of a math test for some eighth-graders, fall short of the "major reset" that is needed.

New York's decision to base standardized tests and teacher evaluations on new Common Core learning standards adopted in all but five states has been met with resistance from educators and parents who say implementation of the more rigorous standards was rushed. Education Commissioner John King Jr. has defended the decision as necessary to prepare students for college and careers after graduation.

Monday's protests supported calls for a three-year moratorium on high-stakes consequences linked to state standardized tests, until the standards have been fully implemented.

Locally, educators came together at the local teacher's building on North Union Street. They called on lawmakers to make a "resolution" to stand up for public education in 2014.

East High School graduate Mahajzi Jacques says, "You can't learn from a book, if you have to share it with two or three other people."

Teachers and supporters throughout the state wore the color blue to show their support for public education on Monday. We're told they also launched an open letter to the board of regents about enforcing Common Core standards in New York.


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