Liz Holliday

Communications Specialist
Archive for March, 2015

Thousands of Education Advocates Rally on Capitol Steps

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — West Capitol Park was a packed sea of red Wednesday afternoon as charter school teachers, parents, and children from across the state put forth the message that school choice matters.

The rally comes after the governor’s report last week, showing 178 schools as failing, some right of which are in the Capital Region. Education advocates from across the states vying for better funding ahead of the governor’s budget.

More than 13,000 charter school advocates from Families for Excellent Schools chanted the words “don’t steal possible,” saying zip codes shouldn’t matter.

Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, even Grammy award winning artist Ashanti took the stage to help join the fight and call on legislators to raise the cap on charter schools.

“No child should be held hostage in a failing school,” said Hochul.

But it wasn’t just charter school advocates gathering, parents and teachers from the United Federation of Teachers also met with lawmakers Wednesday, asking for education equality for students and funding.

Several of the 160 charter schools present shut their doors Wednesday so students could attend, something some opponents say should not be allowed.

Parent Tania Ortiz says the New York public school her son was enrolled in failed him, and that charter schools were the answer.

“Anything is possible with good schools, with good teachers, and good family members with everyone united,” said Ortiz.

Inside the Capitol, more than 1,100 public school teachers said failing schools were not their fault.

“Grades are down, performance is down, because we have students who don’t have the services they need,” said Gregg Loundahi, senior high school teacher.

And while they say they aren’t in competition with charter schools, the United Federation of Teachers says education funding equality is really what will help keep New York schools from failing.

“As we move forward we want every child to get a good education, but the money does matter,” said Michael Mulgrew.