Hundreds rally for more higher-education, K-12 funding

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Hundreds of students and faculty from the State University of New York and City University of New York marched around the Capitol today to demand more funding for higher education. Public colleges and universities have lost $1.7 billion in funding since 2008, according to New York State United Teachers, which participated in the march.

Also today, the Alliance for Quality Education held a rally in support of K-12 education with about 1,500 people from around the state. After that, NYSUT, the New York Public Interest Research Group, the AQE and a number of student organizations marched together to protest the “growing education crisis” in the state, said Billy Easton, executive director of AQE. They were joined by people pressing for the state to approve education aid for undocumented immigrant students who have been in this country for a certain period of time and want to attend college. The legislation is known as the DREAM Act.

Lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration are in negotiations on the state budget. The new fiscal year starts April 1.

The CUNY and SUNY contingent marched down State Street in a column three wide and several blocks deep, led by NYSUT Executive Vice President Andy Pallotta; Phil Smith, president of United University Professions; Barbara Bowen, president of the Professional Staff Congress; Steve London, PSC first vice president; and Eileen Landy, UUP secretary, NYSUT said. The SUNY faculty are represented by United University Professions, which represents 35,000 academic and professional faculty on 29 state-operated campuses. CUNY faculty are represented by the Professional Staff Congress.

“You should not be denied an excellent opportunity for success,” Pallotta told students at a news conference outside Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office in the Capitol. “Demand it, fight for it, don’t give it up!”

This is video of students and faculty members marching down State Street, across from the Capitol:

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