Rolling rally calls for more spending for public education
Albany received an earful from hundreds of students, parents educators and community members Wednesday about recent cuts in funding for education. The "Educate New York Now Express" has been rolling across the state, picking up supporters and support for their plea to lawmakers to reinvest in public education.
Patty Farrington has been teaching English for 28 years. The Cicero-North Syracuse High School teacher took a day off today to climb on the bus that traveled across the state to the state capital to lobby for more money for education.
She says recent budget cuts have forced her to change the way she does her job.
"In the last four years, we've lost more money in aid to education than we had to work on four years ago," said Farrington. "Thirty thousand teachers have been cut across the state and that has to stop."
Farrington says the effect of these cuts in the classroom is maddening and frustrating. "It's difficult to do planning. You have to make changes quite a bit. You have to work around what you don't have and you have to take money out of your own pocket quite often," she said.
The Alliance for Quality Education organized the rally at a time when Governor Andrew Cuomo is preparing next year's budget. Among other things, the lobbyists want the state to remove a cap on state school aid and reform the new property tax cap, which limits the amount of money local school districts can raise from property taxes.
But at least one teacher -- Farrington -- believes that in order for things to improve for schools there has to be a frank dialogue between parents, teachers administrators and politicians about the future of education in New York, and then perhaps things can change.
"I live and breathe teaching, it's my career, it's my chosen work. But at the same time, I spend more time looking for what I don't have than spending time looking for how to make it better."