At least 55 teachers and other area residents were among thousands rallying for public education in Albany on Saturday, local participants said.
Thunderous chants of “Get it right, get it right” echoed across the Empire State Plaza on Saturday afternoon as ten thousand people participated in a rally challenging testing programs and urging the state to reform its education agenda, according to the Associated Press.
New York State United Teachers President Richard C. Iannuzzi led the rally and gave a speech decrying the state’s standardized testing regimen.
“Get out of the way if you can’t lend a hand because every hand will be needed in the fight for the future,” Iannuzzi said, shaking his fist at a roaring crowd. He urged attendees to take a closer look at what he called the “testing and the achievement gap.”
Responding with chants and applause, educators from across the state voiced displeasure at a host of education practices, the AP reported.
NYSUT provided 225 buses for participants to travel from across the state to attend the event, officials said, and others traveled by car.
About 40 people, including teachers, parents and concerned citizens, were on a bus from Oneonta, Michael Lynch, a NYSUT representative, said.
Six teachers from the Bainbridge-Guilford Central School rode a bus from Sidney to Albany, Paul Davis, president of the Bainbridge-Guilford Teachers’ Association, said Monday. A group from Afton Central School also joined the rally, he said.
Davis said the rally was an energizing event that rekindled and focused the passion teachers have for their work helping students learn. Teachers are bearing the brunt of criticism targeted at education, he said, and the rally helped diffuse resulting depression.
Davis said he supports accountability but teacher evaluations shouldn’t be based so heavily on students’ test scores. The state should ``slow down’’ in implementing its programs, he said, and be clearer about expectations for teachers.