Now's the time to bring the fight to your streets, schools and campuses
Share your Day of Action photos!
From Massachusetts to
California to Virginia and
Colorado and every corner
of the United States, parents, students,
educators and community
leaders arrived at school early on
Feb. 17. They gathered outside at
800 local schools in more than 30
communities and walked into school
buildings together in a show of solidarity
to reclaim the public schools
and colleges our kids deserve.
In the Los Angeles city school district
alone, 20,000 people participated.
At the Grandview Boulevard
Elementary School in LA, "parents,
students and educators were singing,
'The more we work together, the
stronger we will be,'" said NYSUT
Executive Vice President Andy
Pallotta, who joined the walk-ins
along with other NYSUT officers attending
an American Federation of
Teachers meeting. Outside the Alta
Loma elementary, NYSUT President
Karen E. Magee sang "This School
is Our School" with parents and students
before the opening bell.
On March 3, locals all over New
York State will follow up that national
effort and take their own action on issues
that mean the most in their communities.
It is all part of a concerted
effort coordinated with coalition partners
under the Alliance to Reclaim
Our Schools, which includes NYSUT,
the Alliance for Quality Education,
Citizens Action, and the AFT and
National Education Association,
NYSUT's national affiliates.
A day of action "sends a strong
message that we love our public
schools," said elementary school
teacher Kim Schroeder, president of
the Milwaukee Teachers' Education
Now, New York public school
and college supporters must send
that same message to the state
Legislature and the governor.
"Our public schools and colleges
belong to all of us — the students,
the parents, the educators and staff,
and the communities they anchor,"
Pallotta said. "No longer will we allow
ourselves to be divided."
The corporate-style reforms of recent
years have disregarded the voice
of these stakeholders in an attempt
to impose a system of winners and
losers, he said. That must end now.
"None of our students deserve to
be collateral damage," he said.
The March 3 events around the
state aren't limited to walk-ins.
They will take different shapes and
focus on specific issues afflicting
- In Buffalo, members will stress
the attacks on autonomy and fairness
in the current receivership law.
- In the Southern Tier, participants
will wear union T-shirts
to show how they "Respect Public
- On Long Island, one local will
opt for picket signs during rush hour
- In the Hudson Valley, a community
plans a candlelight vigil.
- A Capital District local will host
a walk-in in the morning and a letterwriting
campaign at night.
- In Rochester, the day will feature
a large scale march from a city
elementary school to the Monroe CC
downtown campus for a rally.
"Get creative! Have fun!" said
Billy Easton, AQE executive director.
"Whatever your local action, make
sure it emphasizes our core priorities
for the state budget."
NYSUT's budget priorities include:
- Fair and adequate school funding
through a school aid increase of
$2.9 billion with a priority on ending
the inequality in schools. It has
now been a decade since the final
Campaign for Fiscal Equity court
decision and schools are owed $4.8
billion to fulfill every child's right
under the state constitution to a
"sound, basic education."
- Affordable and quality public
higher education through a $717
million increase in state funding
for SUNY, CUNY and community colleges,
including a real maintenance
of effort for four-year campuses and
increasing funding for the Tuition
Assistance Program, opportunity
programs and enacting the DREAM
- Modify the undemocratic tax
cap to ensure schools and students
can be adequately supported by
their local communities.
- An end to receivership which
is yet another top-down, damaging
intervention imposed on communities.
Let's demand adequately funded,
high-quality community schools
that are redesigned with full engagement
of parents, teachers and other
school staff, administrators and
- Full-day pre-K for all 4-yearolds.
In 2011, the state promised
full-day pre-K to all 4-year-olds, yet
90,000 4-year-olds are still waiting
for full-day pre-K.