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The Times
  • Rally to send message to state: 'Public education is important'

  • A group of more than 200 Mohawk Valley educators, community members, parents and students are “taking a stand” in Albany on Saturday.

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  • A group of more than 200 Mohawk Valley educators, community members, parents and students are “taking a stand” in Albany on Saturday.
    The One Voice United rally, which begins at noon at the Empire State Plaza, will bring thousands of New Yorkers together to send a message to elected officials, the Board of Regents and the state education commissioner against over-testing students and the importance of investing in education, according to a news release.
    “It’s a rally to take a stand to support public education,” said Fred Monaco, New York State United Teachers regional staff director.
    The rally is co-sponsored by NYSUT along with New York State AFL-CIO and a host of other organizations, including Class Size Matters, Alliance for Quality Education, the State University of New York Student Assembly and Save Our SUNY.
    Locally, buses will leave from Riverside Center and John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Utica, the New Hartford Shopping Center, and Adirondack High School in Boonville.
    Monaco said there a number of issues negatively impacting education in the state.
    In his opinion, these include:
    * Increased high-stakes testing of students and high-stakes staff evaluations based on those tests.
    * The state-mandated 2 percent tax cap, which limits district’s ability to raise funds, combined with the need for a supermajority vote to override the cap.
    * Inequitable distribution of state aid, as well as insufficient aid.
    “The staff is stretched to the limits and we’re asking more of our children,” Monaco said.
    Rally-goers will call for a moratorium on the use of standardized tests, and demand equitable funding as well as greater local control of schools. Specifically, they want to fix the tax cap and eliminate the need for a supermajority.
    The rally will also address funding and support for colleges and universities.
    “Public education has got to be up there at the top of the list,” said Jim Chase, president of the Adirondack Central School District teacher’s association.
    “This is a positive rally; nobody is burning any flags or anything like that,” Chase said. “Public education is important and we need the support of the entire state.”
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