PLATTSBURGH — Teachers, parents and students across the North Country are feeling blue over the state of public education.
And today, designated the National Day of Action by the American Federation of Teachers, many are expected to wear the color as a symbol of their dissatisfaction with the education reform movement taking place in the nation.
“It’s just another way of saying, ‘Listen, we’re being hurt, and this is not working,’” said Margarita Garcia-Notario, the mother of two Plattsburgh City School District students.
In New York state, the reform has included a number of mandates, such as the implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards and high-stakes standardized testing. These have received opposition from educators and parents who feel the standards were forced on schools too quickly and without forethought.
And they fear the tests are excessive and detrimental to students.
FOCUS ON LEARNING
As part of the Day of Action, which is also promoted by the New York State United Teachers, National Education Association and other groups, educators are being asked by their unions to wear blue in support of adequate funding for public schools and colleges and a focus on teaching and learning, rather than testing.
“They’re (also) asking for a (three-year) moratorium with the implementation of Common Core,” said Garcia-Notario, who also serves as the president of Stafford Middle School’s Family School Organization and co-president of Plattsburgh High School’s Community School Organization.
“They want to slow down and give teachers time, give schools time and make sure this thing is not hurting.”
She noted parents will be sending their children to school in blue apparel today, and community members are also encouraged to don the hue.
LOTS OF BLUE
“Blue Monday,” as some are calling it, has been promoted by Garcia-Notario’s Family and Community school organizations, and she expected constituents from all the city schools would participate.
Parent groups from AuSable Valley, Beekmantown, Saranac Lake and Northeastern Clinton central schools have been promoting the cause, as well, she added.
“There are lots of people wearing blue,” Garcia-Notario said.
In fact, Assemblywoman Janet Duprey has vowed to be one of them, she noted.
“She has been very, very supportive,” Garcia-Notario said of the assemblywoman.
The plan, she continued, is to capture as many photos as possible of as many people as possible wearing blue in schools throughout the day. Those pictures will then be shared on social media sites in hopes of getting the message across to lawmakers, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo knows what blue means, Garcia-Notario said.
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