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Education unions, advocates, rally in Albany

Jan 13, 2015 12:02 am
[Corrected 7:33 a.m.]

Casey Seiler is reporting at Capitol Confidential labor leaders and activists rallied hundreds of people in support of public education on the Great Western Staircase Mon., Jan. 12. The demonstrators called on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and lawmakers to close what speakers described as a growing gap between affluent and poor school districts. Speakers included representatives of the New York State United Teachers, the United Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers, as well as the Rev. Dr. William Barber, a minister who leads the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP.“We don’t need to be following ALEC; we don’t need to follow the Koch (COKE) brothers’ scheme of privatizing public schools,” Barber said. “We don’t need to watch them siphon public dollars and give it to their private friends. Public education is as American as our love for freedom.” A Cuomo spokesman said, in effect, the state is already throwing a lot of money at the problem. Seiler reported data from the state Budget Division shows state aid per pupil in high-needs districts has increased $591 in the past five months years, while the per-pupil state aid in low-needs districts increased nearly $300. The largest increase has been seen in average-need districts, where per-pupil state aid increased $750 during that same period. The crowd also heard from numerous Democrats in both legislative houses, including Senate leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan, who chairs the chamber’s Education Committee. Read the full story at Capitol Confidential, a Times Union blog.

A portion of Barber's speech is below (12:41:00)
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