Hundreds of Teachers, Assistant Teachers, Therapists, Administrators and Parents filled the CUNY Graduate Center auditorium on June 25th for the Town Hall / Rally in support of Special Education - preschool and school age - provided by non-profit agencies across the state of New York.
The event had been moved to a larger venue in response to the interest in 'being there' expressed by our schools' staff and they turned out - coming after working a long day in the classroom or bringing along their kids, some in strollers.
Dressed in yellow T-shirts, the audience was enthusiatic and responded in kind to the passion expressed by the speakers on stage.
This is a YouTube link to the event from yesterday if you want to see the rally - https://youtu.be/GP20hfSSGB8
Click this link to view the powerful, Powerpoint presented at the rally - A System in Crisis
Message from Chris Treiber, IAC, Associate Executive Director for Children's Services:
A huge Thank you to everyone involved in yesterday’s Town Hall Rally and for all of your support in putting the event together. You helped turn out your staff in record numbers. We filled the auditorium at CUNY with more than 400 teachers, teacher assistants, administrators, school staff, parents, students, and advocates and delivered an incredible event. You should all be very proud of your school staff who travelled into the city after a long day of work. Their passion and commitment was inspiring through out the afternoon.
For those of you who were unable to attend the event I am attaching a copy of the program that included a poignant video tribute to our teachers, teacher assistants, and school staff. IAC presented data from the recent COPA survey regarding staff in our schools. We had powerful speakers that included a parent from one of our 853 schools and two teachers from DDI who were able to express through their personal stories the impact that the lack of adequate funding has had on them, their families, and their educational programs. We had Seth Stein an attorney from the Long Island Alliance who outlined a potential legal strategy to address the lack of adequate funding for our education programs. New York State Assembly Member David Weprin attended the event along with a representatives from Assembly Member Richard Gottfried, Assembly Member Joe Lentol and Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal offices. NY1 sent a camera crew to the Town Hall Rally and Chalkbeat’s reporter Alex Zimmerman also attended. It is our hope that this will be the first of a number of events across the state in support of our schools.
On Wednesday, May23rd, WPIX 11 ran a news story on Preschool Special Education.
Arnold Diaz did a fantastic job presenting the urgency of the issue and he made the point loud and clear that the situation is a crisis.
But this is just the start of our advocacy - we must build from this story.