One Sunnyside school came together to let their teachers know that they support them in the fight against what they call Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s controversial proposed education changes.
Parents and students of P.S. 150, located at 40-01 43rd Ave., gathered with teachers on Thursday afternoon to rally against Cuomo’s plans, which include making teacher evaluations depend heavily on state tests and increasing the number of charter schools.
Once these changes are approved, then $1.1 billion in funding will be added for public schools.
“By increasing the stakes of these high-stake tests you are increasing the pressure on the teachers which then increases pressure on the students to perform,” said Karen Schumacher, a parent of a third-grader at P.S. 150. “There’s more to children, there’s more to teaching than a test score. We want our teachers to know that we love them, we think that they’re doing a great job and that they’re the most important thing and not a standardized test.”
According to Schumacher, along with being a way to show the teachers that the parents and students support them, the rally also serves as a way to let parents know what is going on and understand what the changes mean.
“We want to raise awareness. A lot of parents are busy and not active on social media and politics so they want to let them know what’s going on,” Schumacher added.
During the rally, teachers and students formed a human chain around one-half of the front and side of the school. Participants also handed out flyers with information on the proposed changes and asked parents to sign a postcard to send to Cuomo that read, “Stop waging war on public schools!”
Those who participated during the protest held signs that read messages such as “Protect our schools,” “Hear our (1.1 million) voices,” “We believe in public schools, “Our teachers are more than tests,” and “We support our teachers.”
“We want Gov. Cuomo to listen,” said Joann Rodeschin, UFT chapter leader at P.S. 150, who added that they invite Cuomo to come visit the Sunnyside school. “Kids are not just a test.”
The protest at P.S. 150 is just one of hundreds that took place throughout the five boroughs on Thursday, where parents gathered to form human chains around schools.
“We are proud of being a public school, we love our public schools and we are the parents and the teachers and the students that are affected by these proposals, so we are the ones that should be heard,” said Deborah Alexander, a parent of a student at P.S. 150 who helped organize the rally. “It’s all a political dance and we’re just the pawns, except the pawns are children. It’s very disconcerting.”