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Know Your Rights
Source: New York Daily News
Subject: Education Justice
Type: Media Coverage

Test-Score Protesters Disrupt Education Department Meeting – Joel Klein, Other Officials Walk Out

Protesters** angry over the sharp drop in student scores on state exams disrupted a meeting of a city Education Department panel last night – leading the schools chancellor and panel members to walk out.

The 100 parents and students forced the meeting of the Panel for Educational Policy to disband before it could vote on several budget-related items as well as more than $5 million in contracts.

Led by the Coalition for Educational Justice advocacy group, the demonstrators demanded to speak immediately following an agency presentation on the scores.

The state this year made the third- through eighth-grade reading and math exams harder, and thousands more city kids failed as a result. Parents and teachers could see students’ results for the first time yesterday.

As the Daily News reported yesterday, an analysis by the Coalition for Educational Justice showed the achievement gap between the richest 10% of schools and the poorest 10% widened significantly this year.

The group wanted answers on the agency’s plan to deal with the problem.

The protesters raised a ruckus until Schools Chancellor Joel Klein and the panel members left the stage at Murry Bergtraum High School on Pearl St. in lower Manhattan.

When the meeting was officially called off, the parents and students marched out chanting, "We’ll be back."

There was no word last night on when the meeting would be rescheduled.

"It’s extremely unfortunate that parents who came to voice their opinions before the panel could not be heard tonight because a small, unruly group refused to respect the process and wait for the public comment period to begin," said agency spokeswoman Natalie Ravitz.

**Including Make the Road New York (MRNY).