Neira, Kowal: Parents, educators must be heard

NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira and United University Professions President Fred Kowal made a compelling case for giving parents and educators a stronger voice in pubic education during an interview Monday with radio journalist Susan Arbetter during the National Day of Action.

“We’re really asking for our state lawmakers and Regents to listen to the voices of parents and teachers and students in our community,” Neira said during Capitol Pressroom, aired on radio stations across the state. “It’s time for us to reclaim the promise of public education: a successful system for all students and parents.”

Kowal noted that the K-12 system has common ground with the state’s public colleges and universities because “our colleagues in K-12 are working extremely hard to get our students ready for higher education, but when they get to higher ed, they have trouble completing a degree in four years because funding cuts have made classes so crowded and course sections more limited.”

The flawed implementation of the Common Core standards; a steady decline in public funding for both K-12 and public higher education, coupled with a greater reliance on funding by tuition increases and corporate interests; and major changes in curriculum and graduation requirements without any input by faculty have all contributed to a groundswell of reaction by parents and educators, Neira and Kowal noted.

After the interview, the union leaders headed to a noon press conference at the state Capitol.

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