Watch CBS News

Protests Held Across NYC Against Gov. Cuomo's Education Reform Plan

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Several protests took place across New York City on Thursday morning against Gov. Andrew Cuomo's plan to make big changes to the education system.

From Queens, to Brooklyn, to Manhattan, protesters hit the streets chanting, "Save our schools" and "Say no to Cuomo."

Protesters are speaking out against the governor's proposed education reforms that include an overhaul of the teacher evalution system, which as CBS2's Andrea Grymes reported, parents fear will put too much emphasis on standardized testing.

"You're dealing with students. They each have individual needs and circumstances," Kathy Muzyka said.

Teachers' Union President Mike Mulgrew thinks it's a smoke screen.

"Maybe he wants to talk about all these bad ideas so we're not talking about that he owes us a lot of money," Mulgrew said.

Under Cuomo's proposal, 50 percent of a teacher's evaluation would come from students' state test scores or in non-tested grades, a student growth measure calculating one year of academic growth.

Thirty-five percent would come from independent observations, and the remaining 15 percent from supervisor observations.

Back in January, the governor called the current teacher evaluation system "baloney."

"Thirty-one percent of third- to eighth-graders are proficient in English, but 99 percent of the teachers are rated effective," Cuomo said.

Protests Held Across NYC Against Gov. Cuomo's Education Reform Plan

At P.S. 200 in Bath Beach, Brooklyn, teacher Marcy Buono said if their protests don't send a message to the governor, she doesn't know what will.

"You know they say: kids count, not the tests. Everyone's aware of what's going on, everyone's aware of what you're trying to do and we're just, we're not going to stand for it," she told WCBS 880's Marla Diamond.

As for Thursday's protests, a Cuomo spokesperson said: "The governor is fighting to reform a system that has condemned 250,000 children to failing schools over the last 10 years. Frankly, the louder special interests scream -- and today they were screaming at the top of their lungs --  the more we know we're right."

Parents at Thursday's protest said they're concerned the well-rounded education their children are receiving will pay the price if teachers start teaching to the test to save their jobs.

"We are here to stand strong for our children," parent Jamie Swiggart said. "Our children are more than five days of testing."

"It makes me feel as though my child's educational experience is going to be boiled down to something that is very shallow," parent Tracy Kahley said.

Many parents outside P.S. 212 said they're writing letters and signing petitions and plan to attend a larger protest later this month.

Lawmakers are expected to vote on the education proposals, which are part of the state budget, by April 1.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.