200 city schools hold rallies to oppose Andrew Cuomo’s education reforms

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, March 12, 2015

Gov. Cuomo's push to rely more on standardized testing was among the issues that protesters challenged during Thursday's demonstrations. 

Gov. Cuomo's push to rely more on standardized testing was among the issues that protesters challenged during Thursday's demonstrations.

Thousands of parents, union leaders and teachers rallied at almost 200 city schools Thursday against Gov. Cuomo’s proposed education reforms.

The demonstrations were aimed at Cuomo’s plans to increase the importance of standardized tests for teacher ratings, boost the number of charter schools and turn over the management of troubled city schools to outside groups.
“Maybe he wants to talk about all these bad ideas so we’re not talking about that he owes us a lot of money,” city teachers union president Michael Mulgrew  said.
Cuomo has threatened to withhold more than $1 billion in additional state funding for public schools if the Legislature does not agree to his reforms in the upcoming state budget .
But his ideas were not popular with the parents and educators who demonstrated against them by forming human chains outside dozens of city classrooms.
photos: Stephanie Keith/for New York Daily News
Students gather at a rally to relay a message to the governor.
Students gather at a rally to relay a message to the governor.
 
“There is too much focus and too much stress on testing,” said Concetta Aloi, the PTA president of Public School 200 in Brooklyn. “All the parents think too much time is spent on preparing kids for tests instead of learning the curriculum.”
Mulgrew and American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten stopped by several rallies and City Hall for a show of support for City Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Queens), chairman of the Education Committee.
“Receivership is code word for privatization and New York City schools are not for sale,” said Councilman Mark Treyger (D-Brooklyn), in reference to Cuomo’s plan to take over troubled schools.
But Cuomo spokeswoman Dani Lever said the governor is fighting to reform a system that has condemned 250,000 children to failing schools over the last decade.
Gov. Cuomo has fired back at critics by pointing out that there are 91 failing schools in the city.
Gov. Cuomo has fired back at critics by pointing out that there are 91 failing schools in the city.
“Frankly, the louder special interests scream — and today they were screaming at the top of their lungs — the more we know we’re right,” said Lever.
A report issued by Cuomo earlier this month said there are more than 50,000 students enrolled in 91 failing schools  in New York City at a cost of $20,000 per pupil per year.
City school officials said they have taken action on those schools, moving to close 18 and giving added resources to another 53.