BUFFALO, N.Y. -- In the wake of the controversial appointment of U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, local parents, students, lawmakers and other community members gathered on a chilly Saturday afternoon to march for changes in aspects of the state's education agenda.
The march in Buffalo was among similar rallies planned Saturday for Rochester, Kingston, New York City, Schenectady, Syracuse and Wyandanch.
"We are marching across the state to send a message to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, to the state legislature, we want the 'dough' to go to the children," said one of the rally leaders, Jim Anderson, Vice President of New York State Citizen Action. He explained additional funds are needed not only for improved technology and school infrastructure, but also for programs that better engage the families of students.
"I'm talking about the professionalism that exists within the district that could be linked to parents in the community in very creative ways and very effective ways," he said.
Many organizations were involved in the march, including the Buffalo Teachers Federation, Alliance for Equality Education, and Citizen Action of Western New York.
The rally's march started at the Erie County Holding Center on W. Eagle Street and ended at Hutchinson Technical High School on S. Elmwood Ave.
Anderson said the start location for the rally symbolizes how New York State is one of only two states in the country that prosecutes youth as adults when they turn 16.
The rally also called attention to ending the state's over-reliance on high-stakes testing, expanding daycare funding, ending "systematic racism and economic injustice" that can "define school funding" and making SUNY and CUNY schools free for all, organizers say.