Several hundred parents, students, teachers and concerned community members attended the Ulster County Defends Public Education forum last Monday February 23, 2015 at Miller Middle School. The forum was hosted by Kingston Teachers Federation, New York State Allies for Public Education, Alliance for Quality Education and Rondout Valley Federation of Teachers.
Dr. Paul Padalino, superintendent of Kingston City School District, and Billy Easton, executive director of Alliance for Quality Education, spoke regarding school funding and the problems with Governor Cuomo’s education budget proposal. Mr. Easton asked audience members to call New York State legislators and demand that the legislators say “No” to Governor Cuomo’s education plan and put $2.2 billion in new school aid in the budget. The state legislators CAN do this and we as constituents of New York State should accept NO excuses! Alliance for Quality Education is coordinating a rally/lobby day in Albany on March 11, 2015. 20150311EDUParadeFlyer-color-1
Student Sam Longbotham, Rondout Valley, and teachers Kristina Flick, Rondout Valley Central School District, and Laura Harnden, Ulster BOCES, spoke regarding the impact of high-stakes testing on the classroom. Bianca Tanis, co-founder of NYS Allies for Public Education, spoke regarding excessive testing and its adverse impacts, particularly on students living in poverty, students with disabilities and English Language Learners, and test refusal.
An opportunity was given for audience members to ask questions after all presenters concluded their remarks.
The Daily Freeman and Kingston Times wrote articles about the forum and NYSUT also published a write-up on their website.
Kingston Times article – Dissatisfaction with Cuomo common bond among local educators
Daily Freeman article – Forum participants say NY Gov. Cuomo hurting schools
NYSUT article – Ulster unites to demand fair funding and relief from testing
Video of the entire forum can be viewed here as well as videos of some of the individual segments.
If you would like an opportunity to talk further about high-stakes testing, plan to attend the upcoming Demystifying Testing forum hosted by Kingston Action For Education and NYS Allies for Public Education on March 16, 2015.