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Teachers rally in Albany for education reform

ALBANY -- Thousands of teachers and parents rallied at Empire State Plaza Saturday for additional funding and a reduction of state-mandated testing.

“We have been talking, we have been meeting and the legislature is looking at some legislation and I’ve have conversations with the governor that have been good conversations. We also do a lot to convince the State Education Department, but at the moment it seems to be an awful lot of listening, but not hearing, so I think 20,000-plus people they'll get to hear it this time,” said Dick Iannuzzi, President of New York State United Teachers.

Teachers were bused in from across the state to take part in the rally, but some didn’t have to travel far. Kindergarten teacher Stephanie Dash joined a contingent from Troy City School District to discuss the frustrations with mandates they experience in their classrooms.

“I think everyone understands we're raising the expectations and I'm all for raising the standards, but the problem is how we get there. We’re supposed to teach for the 21st century, but we don’t always have the tools accessible to the teacher to implement the programs they're asking us to teach,” said Dash.

NYSUT estimates students are spending five times more minutes taking tests than they were ten years ago, including the controversial Common Core material. The results of the exams are also being used in more places, such as teacher evaluations.

“That's across all age groups, test, test, test. We're exhausted, the kids are exhausted,” said Dash. “I think if we could just teach with the understanding that we have to meet certain goals then I think we could achieve that together without everyone feeling so frustrated.”