I didn't go because I ain't a-marching anymore -- this week.*
Leonie has some reports, the first with text of her speech and a video.
The rally in Albany was massive today; with estimates of 25,000. You can get a sense of the size from the video below. I was honored and excited to be a part of it. Let's hope it is just the beginning of a real movement to rescue public education, led by teachers, parents, administrators and students, to take back our schools. Here is my speech:
We are here today to call upon the Governor and the Legislature to do what is right for the children of New York.Children need good schools. Children need small class sizes. Children need experienced and caring teachers…But instead of giving New York's children what they need, the Governor, the Legislature and the Regents are intent on giving our kids more tests.Parents are outraged as to how our public schools are being undermined by policymakers who do not seem to realize how their decisions are hurting New York State’s children.From the testing obsession, to budget cuts, class size increases, and rampant sharing of private data, the needs of our students and the priorities of parents are ignored, and our trust in government is eroding every day.Rather than give our children the smaller classes they need, the corporate reformers claim that personalized instruction will be provided through software and data analysis.So the state is providing all our children’s most sensitive personal information to a corporation called inBloom Inc. funded by Bill Gates – which in turn plans to give this information to for-profit vendors w/o parental consent.Because of protests from parents, four states have announced they are pulling out of inBloom –– but the arrogant and reckless bureaucrats in the NYS Ed Department are still intent on going ahead no matter what.NYS is now the only inBloom client willing to risk the privacy and the future of more than 3 million public schoolchildren of the entire state by putting their names, test scores, disability status, health records & disciplinary records on a vulnerable cloud -- managed by Amazon.com with an operating system by Wireless, run by Joel Klein and owned by Rupert Murdoch.And not only parents should be worried – inBloom is also collecting personal teacher information, including your social security number and the longitude & latitude of your home address, as though they wanted to send a drone missile to your home. They are putting this data together with your students’ test scores, and the reason you were let go from your last job – so that there can be a national black list of teachers based upon unreliable value-added formulas.Collecting data and providing it to for-profit companies run by people like Rupert Murdoch can never substitute for the personal interaction a child has with his or her teacher. You cannot be replaced by a machine.Today we come together to say, enough of this arrogant dismissal of the voices of parents, children and teachers; enough of the damage being wreaked on our schools. We will not stand for it any longer. It must end today.