More than 1,000 NYSUT members and supporters stood on the steps of the State Education Department in Albany in August to protest efforts to privatize public education.
"Public education and public schools belong to the public — they belong to students, parents, educators and communities — and they belong to the taxpayers. Public schools do not belong to corporations," NYSUT President Karen E. Magee told protesters.
The protest was part of NYSUT's ongoing right-back-at-you effort to expose the corporations and private foundations that are profiting from public education. Corporations such as publishing giant Pearson cut lucrative deals with states to design standardized tests and other education tools.
Privately funded foundations and conservative movements, such as those led by former CNN personality Campbell Brown, undercut teachers' ability to stand up for their students by attacking tenure and education unions.
In a symbolic gesture, Magee shredded a copy of Pearson's $32 million contract with New York state, to loud applause.
Magee was joined at the podium by NYSUT Executive Vice President Andy Pallotta; New York AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento; Fred Kowal, president of United University Professions; Billy Easton, executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education; Shenendehowa Central Schools Superintendent Oliver Robinson; Mary Sullivan, executive vice president of the Civil Service Employees Association; and Randy Gunther, president of the Schoharie Teachers Association.
— Darryl McGrath