SHERBURNE – Educators stood arm in arm with students and parents inside the lobby of the Sherburne-Earlville Elementary School in a cry defending public education on Thursday.
The rally was one of hundreds that took place across the state as thousands of teachers pushed back against an education reform agenda poised to be included in New York’s $142 billion budget. As the budget deadline looms, educators are calling on lawmakers to remove items they say will cripple public education, including a teacher evaluation system that bases 50 percent of a teacher’s evaluation to test scores; and threats to withhold funding if schools don’t comply.
Opponents argue that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive budget puts teachers in a place where they’re forced to teach to the test instead of students’ needs, and that children are being used as pawns in the game of politics.
“To link the reform agenda to state funding is just plain wrong,” said S-E Superintendent Eric Schnabl, noting that despite ominous funding threats, recent communications with state representatives do indicate there may be light on the horizon. “They’re making some progress as far as not linking funding to education reforms, but it doesn’t necessarily mean those education reforms are going away.”