The Daily Gazette
The Locally Owned Voice Of The Capital Region

Thousands of teachers unite

Thousands of teachers from around the state rallied Saturday afternoon on the Empire State Plaza to amplify their concerns with the state’s new common core curriculum and implementation of teacher and principal evaluation systems.

The rally was sponsored by the New York State United Teachers union, which organized more than 200 buses from all corners of the state. There was also a large local contingent, including teachers from Gloversville, Schenectady and Bethlehem.

A full story on the rally can be found here.

Schenectady second-grade teacher Katie Ferguson, the state’s 2012 Teacher of the Year, said the event was a chance for the state’s thousands of teachers to have one voice. With that voice, she said, they were trying to let people know children aren’t getting the education they deserve because of demands from the state.

“We hope that we can get [the state Education Department] to listen and reconsider some of the things they’ve put in place this year and slow down the implementation of the common core and rethink their standardized testing measures,” Ferguson said.

The event stretched beyond the planned two hours, as more than a dozen speakers delivered their message from a large stage set up on the plaza, with two large screens sharing the visual with the crowd, which was densely packed for about 50 yards and continued to a sprinkling of people at the other end of the plaza. Many teachers, parents and students wore shirts and held signs that indicated what school district they were from.

Buttons, signs and banners lambasted the teacher evaluation system, called for an end to common core, vilified Gov. Andrew Cuomo and private test creators, remembered a student who took his life because of standardized testing, criticized the state’s tax cap and just offered the plea of “Save our Schools.”

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