Today I was in Albany, NY, first for a meeting of the NYSATA (NY State Art Teachers Association) Board of Trustees, where I serve as Rep for my region. We took an extended lunch break to walk up the hill to the the One Voice Education Rally on the plaza of the State Capitol, sponsored by NYSUT (NY State United Teachers), where thousands of teachers, parents, students, and interested people gathered. One news report said there were over 10,000 people, and another report said 20,000! Either way, it was a huge crowd, all concerned about the future of education in NY state. One of the biggest issues is the increase in high stakes testing, that has stressed both kids and teachers, and dramatically cut into teaching time. People are making decisions about education who have never spent a day in the classroom and don't seem to care about the negative impact of these decisions. Excessive testing does not improve learning! Anyhow, posted here are a sampling of signs carried at the rally. I was proud to be a part of this event. The people carrying signs in the 2 photos directly above are members of our Board of Trustees. The person below is a middle school art teacher from the town where I live, and was my son's art teacher when he was in middle school.
Here's a view of the crowd. The odd-shaped building to the left is 'the Egg'. This unusual sculptural building holds a fabulous performing arts venue.
The T-shirts above say 'Rage Against the Testing Machine', and were designed by an 11th grade student as part of a group project in an AP English class. The quote on the back is by Nelson Mandela. Their group is called 40 Strong. We spoke for a while with these impressive kids (they actually videotaped a little interview with some of us!) from a high school in Syracuse. I'll keep my eyes open to see where their project takes them!
The sign above was written and carried by a couple of high school students, particularly interested in protecting their school music program, endangered by the excessive testing. I love that students participated so actively in this rally!