Students lobby for their schools

Above are the videos and photos  from today’s Education Lobby Day sponsored by the Alliance for Quality Education. Here’s one link to coverage. Here’s another, which puts high up how a group of Watkins Glens students raised $800 to make the trip.  Compare that to this report, where the New York City mayor notes he had to pay for a TV ad because too often in Albany only the special interests are heard.

Here’s a bit about what’s behind the faces.

The first three videos are all students from Frankfort-Schuyler schools in Herkimer County. Those three young men were part of a large contingent from the district, all fighting for more state aid to help close their $828,000 budget gap. The school board is considering cutting all Advanced Placement courses, elementary music and art, the high school engineering program Project Lead the Way, and electives in science, math, art, music, home and careers, and business education. Cutting kindergarten to half day is also on the table. The proposed budget will cut 9 percent of the teaching staff (8 percent were cut last year.) Still more cuts are coming.

Next up is a group photos of members of the Greenville Faculty Association, led by Gail Richmond. She spoke at the event about the shame in the choices districts are being forced to make to live under reduced state aid and within the property tax cap. She talked about how her life as a student revolved around music. “I don’t know where I’d be if there hadn’t been music in my school” because she went on to become a music teacher.  She spoke of her concern that schools in our state are separating into those that have the resources to offer a full curriculum and those that do not.

Casey Gannon is in the group photo and that’s also her headshot. Gannon is one of the thousands of teachers laid off last year due to budget cuts, not because the Greenville school district did not need her. Because Gannon is not there this year, there is no computer programming elective and the class sizes in all math courses have gone up.

Next up is a picture of the three young men from Frankfort-Schuyler High School. Hey, these young men were prepared. They had two pages of facts they planned to deliver to Sen. James Seward and Assembly members Marc Butler and Anthony Brindisi. I hope to hear from them about how the rest of their day went.

The last picture in the slideshow is Carly Weller, a junior at South Glens Falls High School. Here’s a link to what her district is considering cutting. She came to Albany as part of civics courses and the day truly fits into the Participation in Government curriculum.

“Our town overall is not wealthy. We don’t have luxuries to cut from our schools,” Weller said. “We’re cutting the electives that I need to be prepared for college. Those courses are being replaced by study halls.”

That link is about the $471,000 gap at South Glens Falls. It doesn’t mention how much South Glens Falls cut last year or how much the South Glens Falls schools do for the community each year through its marathon dance contest.

More than 1,500 participants registered for AQE’s Education Lobby Day. These are just some of their stories. Please share yours.

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One Comment

  1. Betsy Marshall March 14, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

    Great coverage!! Thank you.

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