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School protesters are Cuomo-phobic • Brooklyn Paper

School protesters are Cuomo-phobic

Standing out: Fourth-grader Sadie Fisher, left, holds a sign with a pal at the protest against the education policies of Gov. Cuomo at PS 20 on March 12.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

These students, parents, and teachers give the governor’s education policies an F.

Demonstrators gathered outside more than two dozen Brooklyn public schools on March 12 to show and tell how awful they think Gov. Cuomo’s school programs are, particularly his proposals to increase the emphasis on standardized testing in ranking teachers so that half of their assessments are tied to test scores, and to weaken tenure.

The policies galvanized teachers unions, perennial foes of such changes, but also the parents of children with learning disabilities who worry that teachers hustling for higher test grades might forsake students who score high less reliably.

Chain, chain, chain: Parents and students form a human chain around PS 20 as part of the protest.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

“My son has dyslexia and probably wouldn’t do well on tests,” said Ellie Miller, a Bedford-Stuyvesant resident who protested with her daughter outside PS 20 in Clinton Hill. “There are wonderful teachers who can spend time to help him, but he would be a detriment to them. They shouldn’t be penalized for serving students who wouldn’t do well on tests.”

The protests took place at schools in Park Slope, Clinton Hill, Carroll Gardens, and other neighborhoods. Students, parents, teachers, and some politicians linked arms to form human chains around the schools.

Cuomo has tied the reforms to $1.1 billion in increased school aid.

This guy: Gov. Cuomo is not a popular figure at some Brooklyn public schools.
File photo by Aaron Short

Asked to respond to hundreds of families holding pro-teacher signs aloft, a spokeswoman for Cuomo dismissed the protests as the tantrum of “special interests.”

“The governor is fighting to reform a system that has condemned 250,000 children to failing schools over the last 10 years,” said Cuomo spokeswoman Dani Lever. “Frankly, the louder special interests scream — and today they were screaming at the top of their lungs — the more we know we’re right.”

Reach reporter Noah Hurowitz at nhurowitz@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–4505. Follow him on Twitter @noahhurowitz
Repeat after me: Public Advocate Letitia James talks to kids at a pro-teacher rally at PS 20 in Clinton Hill, including one whose misspelled sign may hurt the cause.
Photo by Elizabeth Graham

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