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AQE holds education rally

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Albany/HV: AQE holds education rally
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Hundreds of students, parents and educators headed to Albany to talk about what they think is missing in schools in New York. Our Vince Gallagher has more on rally.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- "They say cut back. We say fight back!"

That was one of the messages here from the "Educate NY Now Express," an educational advocacy group on a statewide rally calling for what they call a "sound basic education." One major concern is budget cuts

"And our students are paying the price,” said AQE Executive Director Billy Easton. “Now for the first time in New York State's history, instead of expanding educational opportunity, we are shrinking educational opportunity."

Armed with message banners, hundreds of students, parents and teachers made their way from the New York State Museum, to the Empire State Plaza and finally down to the west lawn of the Capitol

"We're going to make sure that you, that came out from all over the state, from rural areas, from cities, from suburban areas, that your voice is heard," said Andrew Pallotta, NYSUT Executive Vice President.

And one of those voices came from a concerned student.

"I'm tired of lying awake every night thinking I will not get into the college of my choice because my school cut AP courses and therefore I cannot compete with other districts that have those opportunities," Ryan Carson said.

A recurring theme here is "a dream deferred, a dream denied," which defines this group’s message of what their dreams are for the future of education and what's missing in the classroom now.

"It's tough right now. Everyone is losing classes. I mean, especially in Potsdam, we've lost tons of teachers. I mean, at least fifteen," Joseph Baxter said.

This rally is part of a statewide march to remind lawmakers of what is missing in New York school districts, mainly resources. To help education, you also need the money, or more specifically, state funding.

Pallotta said, “The state used to fund education at 50 percent. Now it’s more like 40 percent for many districts and they're hurting. The student are hurting and not getting the programs they need."

This rally will continue throughout the state, calling legislators to address what they refer to as a crisis in our classrooms.

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