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Interactive video lesson plan for: Vigil for Schools - May 9, 2011 - Albany, New York

Activity overview:

"Only the teachers could come up with a safe candle," said Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan looking out over a landscape of lighted glow sticks in front of the state Capitol.

Chair of the Assembly education committee, Nolan, D-Queens, was one of several speakers at a NYSUT vigil held on the eve of this year's third Committee of 100 advocacy day. As a cool, spring breeze blew, a lone bagpiper played on the grass surrounded by more than 1,000 educators, and citizen and community groups.

NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi said the event was staged to "bear witness" to pain felt when students will not be able to take courses they need; when kindergartens become half- day programs; when schools close; when college students cannot get classes they need.

"Kids, schools and communities are sacrificing. The wealthy are not!" Iannuzzi said. "This is a failure of the state to meet its obligation.

"There is revenue available and plenty of time to make a clear statement about some form of progressive income tax."

A giant screen showed slides of newspaper headlines announcing school closings and layoffs - news that hits the headlines every day now In New York. While the state budget has already passed, New York has more income than projected, and the Legislature could extend the millionaire's tax to generate about $5 billion.

"It's a beautiful sight to see how we light up the darkness against ignorance," said Andy Pallotta, NYSUT executive vice president.

Tagged under: education, york state,nys,budget,schools,layoffs,nysut,united,teachers,union

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