The pro-public education ad created by the Schoharie Teachers Association, and funded by locals across the state, has hit the airwaves.
One thing wrong in the article is it makes it sound like it’s the first time local unions have produced commercials on their own. Long Island locals have long worked at getting their message out in their pricey metropolitan market. (Sorry, I don’t have links to those ads yet.) The United Federation of Teachers in New York City often runs ads focusing on the positives of public education. We just don’t get to see them that often up here (althoug, if you watch The Daily Show, you got to see last year’s “Blizzard” ad.)
The “Congratulations” ad will be shown at today’s Rural and Small Cities Schools Day in Albany. Martin Messner, Schoharie TA president, is one of the emcees of the event, where more than 800 are registered to lobby lawmakers on need to restore aid for schools. The message: The $805 million that is proposed in the Executive Budget does not make up for the $1.3 billion that was cut last year. Even worse, about $250 million of those funds are for competitive grants, which the small cities and the rural areas know they will not get. You can help by signing this online petition to lawmakers to stop the competitive grants or go to NYSUT’s Member Action Center to fax your lawmaker about restoring aid to education.
Back to the “Congratulations” ad. That amazingly “chipper” young woman wearing the Harvard shirt is named Katie. She is a Schoharie graduate who, yes, was a valedictorian and is now attending Harvard. And the young man with the trombone is named Mitch. Both agreed to be in the ad at no cost. Both just liked the message because they, like lots of students I talk to across the state, like their teachers, and their classes and their schools. They rest of them haven’t gotten back to me, but I was told by the production company they all had the same attitude.
Enough locals pledged to support the campaign that the ad will be shown all over the state, reaching 1 million homes. Just to recognize them, here’s locals that have committed to sponsor airings: Albany, Saratoga, Mohonasen, Johnstown, Fonda, Galway, Cohoes, Amsterdam, Voorheesville, Troy, Duanesburg, Stillwater, Tupper Lake Saranac Lake Malone Plattsburgh, Frankfort-Schuyler TA, Westhill and Penfield. The Long Island President’s Council is looking into running that ad, or adapting it, for their market.