Nearly 200 students, parents, educators, and protesters associated with Occupy Wall Street assembled outside the Department of Education in lower Manhattan in order to stage a demonstration.
The large crowd gathered in order to express their aggravation over education in New York City. This event marked the first official protester on education reform.
The protesters vented their frustrations about charter schools, mayoral control over education, budget cuts and standardized tests, according to the Huffington Post.
I'm Jordan, I'm 13, and there's no point in the ELA, a student said complained regarding the English Language Arts assessment, according to the Huffington Post. I work hard and my grades don't matter.
The group is calling themselves Occupy the DOE. It is a clear offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement and like Occupy Wall Street, they are unsure how to accomplish their goals of education reform.
Occupy the DOE started as a grass-roots movement. On Oct. 25, the group attending a parents meeting with the Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who was discussing changes to the New York City Curriculum. According to NY1.com, Walcott was forced to leave the meeting.
So we decided that we would come to the DOE, so Chancellor Walcott wouldn't be able to run away scared, said one protester.
Police officers arrived on the scene and ordered the 150 protesters to remain off the sidewalk on.
What we're seeing with mayoral control, it's still part of the one percent versus ninety nine percent type of narrative, Occupy Wall Street organizer and English teacher Kelley Wolcott said according to The New York Times. We have a mayor who is known for being in the top 20 wealthiest people in the country, who is singlehandedly dictating the reforms that come through the school systems without a lot of input.
High school students also expressed their complaints. One student complained about budget cuts, which hindered his Bronx school from receiving new textbooks and hiring librarians and school aids. Another student demanded Mayor Bloomberg replace his educational policy panel with a 13-member board comprised of parents, educators, experts, community members and five student representatives.
I'm tired of being told that my school is failing. It is the Department of Education that has failed to give my students what they need to succeed, said one teacher, according to The Huffington post. If our banks fail, they get bailouts. If our schools fail, they get closed, or charter co-locations.
Organizers are hoping that yesterdays protest will be the first in a series of protests on education reform. Occupy the DOE is planning many rallies in hopes of influencing education reform.