New Yorkers to engage in 'Day of Action' to reclaim public education
ALBANY, N.Y. December 6, 2013 - Parents, educators, union members and community members on Monday will engage in a statewide Day of Action to reclaim the promise of public education - calling for greater state investment in public schools and colleges, a renewed focus on teaching and learning instead of testing, and a three-year moratorium on high-stakes consequences from state standardized tests for students and teachers.
New York's wide-ranging, daylong events are part of a national Day of Action called by the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and more than 100 other organizations, all working to reclaim the promise of public education from corporate interests and self-proclaimed education "reformers." New York's grassroots events are organized by New York State United Teachers, Alliance for Quality Education, Citizen Action, New York State AFL-CIO and others.
New York's Day of Action - which will kick off at 7 a.m. at Nyack High School with NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi and AFT President Randi Weingarten - will include rallies, press events, meetings with and communications to the Board of Regents and legislators and other events. (See list below for a partial compilation of the many events statewide; check www.nysut.org/dayofaction for updates.) Speakers at each event will call on policymakers to make a "resolution" to stand up for public education in the new year.
Educators, parents and activists across the state will be wearing blue in a massive show of solidarity and to protest state budget cuts, the state's overemphasis on standardized testing and rocky implementation of the Common Core standards.
The Day of Action events will highlight solutions aimed at ensuring that every child in New York state receives a high-quality public education from pre-K through college. Leaders will launch an open letter to the Board of Regents urging them to accelerate support to schools and make the course corrections necessary to ensure the Common Core standards are implemented properly.
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.
Day of Action: Partial List of Events
7 a.m. Rallies at Nyack High School (7 a.m.); Nyack Middle School (7:30 a.m.) and Liberty, Upper Nyack and Valley Cottage elementary schools (8 a.m.)
Scheduled speakers: NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, educators, parents, school board members and state and local legislators; student musical performances of "Data This, Data That" and "One Voice."
9:30 a.m. Press Conference at West Seneca School District Office, 1397 Orchard Park Road
Scheduled speakers: West Seneca Teachers Association President Joe Cantafio, West Seneca Schools Superintendent Mark Crawford, NYSUT Secretary-Treasurer Lee Cutler, West Seneca parent leader Molly Dana, Alliance for Quality Education parent Angelica Rivera, United University Professions University at Buffalo chapter leader Tom Tucker, teacher Janet Utz.
11 a.m. Press Conference at Robert C. Dodson School, 105 Avondale Road
Scheduled speakers: NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi, Harrison Association of Teachers President Karen Magee, Yonkers Federation of Teachers President Patricia Puleo, Yonkers Schools Superintendent Bernard Pierorazio, AFT President Randi Weingarten, Mt. Vernon Federation of Teachers President Jeff Yonkers.
Noon Press Conference at LCA Press Room, Legislative Office Building
Scheduled speakers: NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira, United University Professions President Fred Kowal, Alliance for Quality Education Executive Director Billy Easton, Gowana Middle School (Shenendehowa) PTA President Kerensa Rybak, Albany Public School Teachers Association President Susan Gray, Troy Teachers Association President Seth Cohen, Citizen Action Statewide Board Chair Ivette Alfonso.
Rockville Centre - All teachers at the William S. Covert Elementary School, 379 Willow Street, South Hempstead NY 11550, will assemble at 12:15 p.m. to collectively complete "What makes me blue?" sheets.
Valley Stream - Teachers and parents will assemble outside the 14 district schools in the morning before classes dressed in blue and carrying signs reflecting the Day of Action themes. The events will begin at different times because the schools are on different schedules, but the 3 high school demonstrations will begin at approximately 7 a.m. The high schools are Valley Stream North HS (750 Herman Avenue, Franklin Square, NY 11010), Valley Stream South HS (150 Jedwood Place, Valley Stream, NY 11581) and Valley Stream Central HS (135 Fletcher Avenue, Valley Stream, NY 11580)
3:30 p.m. Press Conference at Jamestown High School, 350 East 2nd St.
Scheduled speakers: parent activist Joanne Dean, Jamestown Teachers Association Vice President Tara Hall, Joseph Sweeny of the Dunkirk Teachers Association.
4 p.m. Press Conference at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, 151 Helen St.
Scheduled speakers: Alliance for Quality Education/Citizen Action of NY Parent Education Committee Chair Elizabeth Bray, United University Professions Vice President for Academics Jamie Dangler, student Niko Murray, Dona Murray of the Broome-Delaware-Tioga BOCES Teachers Association, AQE/CANY leader Lawrence Parham, Binghamton Assistant District Superintendent Tonia Thompson, Whitney Point High School teacher Nancy Wallace.
4 p.m. Press Conference at NYSUT Regional Office, 30 N. Union, 1st floor Sampson Room
Scheduled speakers: K-12 educators and parents; Jim Bearden of United University Professions, SUNY Geneseo; Metro Justice speaker; student speaker; student performers from School of the Arts "singing the blues about testing;" speaker from Coalition for Justice in Education; and President of the Rochester and Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation Jim Bertolone.
4 p.m. Press Conference at Dr. Weeks Elementary School, 710 Hawley Ave.
Scheduled speakers: Syracuse Teachers Association President Kevin Ahern, East Syracuse-Minoa guidance counselor Shelly Chizzonite, United University Professions at Upstate Medical University Chapter President Mike Lyon, parent Vikki Patterson, student speaker from Corcoran High School, Area Labor Federation representative.
PLEASE NOTE: The exact location of the press conference is the school's Large Group Instructional Room. This link to Google Maps provides a view of the school campus. Participants will enter the school parking lot by turning from Hawley Ave. onto Delhi St. Delhi St. runs along the side of the school to the back. If you look at the school as a bending elbow, the entrance location for the LGIR will be at the inner part of the bend.
New York City
4:30 - 6 p.m. (Doors open at 4pm) Rally at United Federation of Teachers offices, 52 Broadway
Scheduled speakers: Zakiyah Ansari, Advocacy Director, AQE; Michael Mulgrew, President of UFT; Ernie Logan, President of CSA; Hazel Dukes, President of NAACP NYS Conference; parents, teachers and students.