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Push for more funding in public schools during Day of Action

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Albany/HV: Push for more funding in public schools during Day of Action
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A "Day of Action" was held in Albany and other spots around the state as educators and others gather to call for changes and improvements to the state education system. Innae Park has more.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Dozens of events were held Monday in New York, just to demand change in the system. There are three specific requests being made, all of which are to ensure that the state is taking the Common Core implementation deliberately and slowly.

"We expect action," said Maria Neira, NYSUT Vice President.

Throughout New York State, people are doing their part on the national Day of Action. A press conference in Albany was one of over 60 events statewide demanding change in the Common Core curriculum.

"We need time for the students and teachers to catch up before we implement these programs. And that's why this pause, this moratorium is so very important," said Seth Cohen, Troy Teachers Association President.

A three year moratorium on the 'high-stakes' consequences of low standardized test scores is one request made by NYSUT and other educational and citizens groups. They're also calling for a re-focus on teaching and learning, not testing, and more state funding for schools. Specifically, they're calling for a total of $1.9 billion.

Cohen said, "In effect, in the past five years, Troy has lost over $18 million. That's incredible."

Parents say it's also costing their children their innocence.

"We have had children that have wet their pants. We have had children who have vomited because of the classes. We have kids who actually have anxiety attacks and have to get sent down to the nurse," said Kerensa Rybak, Gowana Middle School PTA co-President. "Trauma is the exact word I would use."

But after exam results from the Program for International Student Assessment showed American students were falling in global ranks, no one's denying the goal of raising standards. These activists say it's the way it's being done.

"We send students out and they almost get a half education," Cohen said.

Neira said, "There are voices throughout the state, in different parts of the state. We can't all be wrong."

NYSUT leaders say they need to see that funding immediately. They've posted an open letter online to the board of regents, which already has thousands of signatures. That's available on their website.

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