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Update: A second accuser emerges with misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Also on the Monday rundown: We take you to a state where more than 60,000 kids are chronically absent from school; and we'll let you know why the rural digital divide can be a twofold problem.

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A Blue Monday for NY Public Education

ILLUSTRATION: Teachers, parents, and even some school officials will be wearing blue Monday to symbolize what they see as a sad situation in New York's public schools. It's part of a national "day of action" around issues such as unequal funding and too much emphasis on testing. Courtesy NEA
ILLUSTRATION: Teachers, parents, and even some school officials will be wearing blue Monday to symbolize what they see as a sad situation in New York's public schools. It's part of a national "day of action" around issues such as unequal funding and too much emphasis on testing. Courtesy NEA
December 9, 2013

ALBANY, N.Y. - Today is a nationwide "Day of Action" around issues plaguing public education. Teachers, parents, union leaders and even some school superintendents and board members in New York are expected to sport blue clothing to show their concern for what they see as an overemphasis on testing, an under-emphasis on state education funding, and inequitable spending between districts.

Dick Iannuzzi, president of the state's largest teachers union, said he will adjust his wardrobe accordingly.

"The blue is really about people having a certain blue feeling and feeling of sadness about what we're doing to children and to education," Iannuzzi explained.

Iannuzzi will be visiting schools in Nyack with American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. The New York State Education Department said it would have no comment in advance of today's events.

Countrywide, a coalition of more than 100 unions and community groups is participating, including Citizen Action of New York. That group's Mark Emanatian expressed frustration at the state's funding inequities.

"There's some public schools, like for instance, in Long Island - certain sections of Long Island and Westchester - that have 29 advanced placement courses and equestrian sports. And then you have other schools that can barely function," Emanation said.

According to Iannuzzi, teachers who wear blue to work should not worry about being reprimanded.

"The amount of support that we have from superintendents and school boards and communities makes me think that there won't be too many who feel the need to strike out with that kind of repressive reaction," Iannuzzi said.

Parents are asking why the governor and legislature cannot do more in support of public education, Emanatian added.

"They're at the end of their rope, and they really are looking to Albany to solve some of these problems. They look at the state of New York, which is in the top three richest states: California, Texas, here," Emanatian said. "There's money, there's lots of money. It's just going in the wrong things."

Events and rallies are scheduled around the state, from Rochester to New York City.


Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - NY