Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

The crowd outside New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's Manhattan office as parents, teachers, and students rallied for public education. (Photo: United Federation of Teachers/ Facebook)

The crowd outside New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's Manhattan office as parents, teachers, and students rallied for public education. (Photo: United Federation of Teachers/ Facebook)

Students and Parents Rally Against Cuomo's Billionaire-Backed Education Scheme

Students, parents, and teachers protest New York governor's plan to tie standardized tests to teacher evaluations

Lauren McCauley

Parents, teachers, and students from across the state flooded the streets of Manhattan on Saturday to call out Governor Andrew Cuomo for selling out the public school system.

"Wall Street got a bailout. Public schools were sold out," was the message as protesters rallied, surrounded by NYPD barricades, outside Cuomo's 3rd Avenue office building. The group is calling on the state government to fully fund public schools, limit high-stakes testing, support struggling schools, fairly evaluate teachers, and stop the expansion of charter schools.

Organized by a coalition of groups, the demonstration included former progressive gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout, as well as other members of the Hedge Clippers—a recently founded campaign, backed by Teachout, as well as the American Federation of Teachers, and other prominent labor and community groups.

According to the group's site, the Hedge Clippers seek to "expose the mechanisms hedge funds and billionaires use to influence government and politics in order to expand their wealth, influence and power" by calling out the politicians who do their bidding. 

During Saturday's protest, the group wielded large paper scissors and held signs accusing Cuomo of being the "number one recipient of hedge fund cash." Throughout the day, images from the demonstration were shared widely on Twitter as well as on the United Federation of Teachers Facebook page.

The protest follows weeks of actions targeting the Cuomo administration as lawmakers weigh the governor's proposal to tie more than $1 billion in school aid to an overhaul of the teacher evaluation system, which places extra emphasis on standardized test scores. Hundreds of people rallied at the Albany Capitol on Thursday and last week teachers from upstate New York delivered the governor 1,000 apples—each representing "a local teaching position unfilled because of years of underfunding for public education."

Groups say that the hedge fund and Wall Street billionaires, which "bought control over the New York State Senate this past election," are seeking to starve the public school system "through subsidies to private and parochial schools and through privately-run charter schools."

"Don't let Wall Street buy our public education system the way they bought the last election," reads a petition being circulated by the Alliance for Quality Education, Citizen Action New York, New York Communities, the Strong Economy For All Coalition, and the Working Families Party.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Critics Warn Biden 'Summit for Democracy' Will Highlight Democrats' Failures at Home

"President Biden can't champion democracy across the globe without fulfilling his promise to protect our voting rights at home."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Like a Teenager Promising to Clean Their Room in 30 Years': Biden Net-Zero Climate Goal for 2050 Ridiculed

"2050 is an extremely weak goal for the federal government to free itself from climate-heating pollution. It ignores existing technology and adds decades to GSA's own commitment to 100% renewable energy by 2025."

Brett Wilkins ·


Biden Should Cancel Student Debt or Watch $85 Billion Evaporate From US Economy: Analysis

Far-reaching cancellation enacted by Biden could add more than $173 billion to the nation's GDP in 2022 alone.

Kenny Stancil ·


Given Cover by Red-Baiting GOP, Corporate Dems Rebuked for Tanking Biden Nominee for Top Bank Regulator

"If you think that Senate Democrats rose up to [Republicans'] shameful display of modern McCarthyism by rallying around President Biden's nominee or her ideas that banking should work for the middle class, then you don't know the soul of today's Democratic Party," wrote one columnist.

Julia Conley ·


'S.O.S.!': Groups in Red States Nationwide Plead With Democrats to Pass Voting Rights Bill

"We can tell you firsthand that our Republican senators have no interest in joining this effort."

Jake Johnson ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo