May 14, 2015
By Stephanie West
ALBANY, N.Y. — In a vocal pushback against out-of-control standardized testing, the outsized influence that giant testing companies are having on teaching and learning, and New York’s inequitable school funding system, a coalition of parents, educators, community members and students will rally next month in Albany to “fight for the future of public education.”
The One Voice United rally — beginning at noon on Saturday, June 8, at the Empire State Plaza in Albany — will bring thousands of New Yorkers to speak out against the state’s obsession with standardized testing and misuse of data to label students and teachers. Rally-goers will call for a moratorium on the use of standardized tests in high-stakes decisions for students and teachers until the State Education Department and Regents properly implement the state’s new Common Core learning standards.
The rally’s focus, however, will extend far beyond the explosive growth of standardized testing, which now includes 3,200 minutes of state tests for elementary and middle-school students, a nearly six-fold increase in testing from the 625 minutes spent on state tests in 2004. Education supporters will also demand a greater investment in public higher education, enactment of the DREAM Act, and legislation to help ensure a safe, secure learning environment for every student. They will also voice support for greater local control of schools by fixing the tax cap, including restoring the democratic principle of majority rule.
“This is our moment, our chance to seize public education back from the bureaucrats and billionaires who think they know more about what’s best for children than educators and parents,” said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. “Thousands will gather in Albany June 8 to speak in one voice and deliver a loud, clear message that ‘enough is enough.’ This rally will be another step in our fight for the future of public education.”
Additional information about the rally, including a program and full list of co-sponsors and speakers, will be announced in coming weeks.
NYSUT, the state’s largest union, represents more than 600,000 teachers, school-related professionals, academic and professional faculty in higher education, professionals in education and health care and retirees. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.