January 13, 2015
By Stephanie West
Albany, NY – Over 1,000 parents, students, advocates and community members rallied on Monday here to protest Governor Cuomo’s education policies. The protests highlighted inequities in school funding.
The protesters voiced concerns that in richer school districts, children have access to excellent and enriching curriculum while others go without the basics like art and music. The group claimed that inequities have grown to record setting levels under Governor Cuomo with the wealthy districts now spending $8,733 per pupil more than poor ones. This revelation was documented in a new report released by the Alliance for Quality Education. The rally comes the week before Governor Cuomo, who has recently attacked public schools, gives his State of the State address and two weeks before he issues his state budget proposal.
The protesters highlighted the constitutional obligation to fund education fairly and equitably. The group also opposed the Governor's expanding charter schools throughout the state. Keynote speaker Rev. Dr. William Barber, spoke passionately to the crowd about the moral duty to provide educational opportunities and resources to hundreds of thousands of New York State children who go without the quality education that is their constitutional right.
The Alliance for Quality Education, American Federation of Teachers, Citizen Action of New York, Make the Road New York, New York Communities for Change, New York State NAACP, New York State United Teachers, Strong Economy for All Coalition, United Federation of Teachers, and the Working Families Party all took part in the demonstration.
"If Albany wants to do right by our kids, it needs to put politics aside and address full and fair funding for all students and all our public schools,” said Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers. “The reality is that you can't make the changes our children deserve unless all kids and teachers have the support, interventions and resources they need. It's time to stop blaming educators and, instead, come together, from Albany to New York City, to reclaim the promise of public education."