‘Day of Action’ planned by NY teachers, union

December 9, 2013 By Carolyn Thompson Associated Press
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BUFFALO— Teachers across New York will wear blue and rally for more funding and less testing Monday as part of a national “Day of Action” organized across numerous states.

“The overriding message is reclaiming the promise of public education,” said Richard Iannuzzi, president of New York State United Teachers, who planned to begin Monday at an event at Nyack High School with American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, parents and legislators.

Events also were planned in Albany, Binghamton, Rochester, Syracuse, New York City, Yonkers, the Buffalo suburb of West Seneca, and at least two dozen other states.

While teachers, students, community groups and educators planned to tailor their actions to states’ individual concerns, a central theme across numerous states, including New York, Florida, Idaho and Iowa, was a call for more funding for public schools.

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In advance of the events, New York organizers published an open letter to state education leaders which, in addition to underfunding, decried a “lack of access to public higher education, rushed implementation of new standards and evaluations, an obsession with testing, lack of support for teaching and learning (and) insufficient staffing and layoffs.”

Iannuzzi said recent changes announced by SED, including the elimination of a math test for some eighth-graders, fall short of the “major reset” that is needed.

State education officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

New York’s decision to base standardized tests and teacher evaluations on new Common Core learning standards adopted in all but five states has been met with resistance from educators and parents who say implementation of the more rigorous standards was rushed. Education Commissioner John King Jr. has defended the decision as necessary to prepare students for college and careers after graduation.

Monday’s protests will support calls for a three-year moratorium on high-stakes consequences linked to state standardized tests, until the standards have been fully implemented.

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