Educators at the rally had strong messages addressed to Arne Duncan.

Teachers and their supporters turned out by the thousands July 30 for the Save Our Schools March in Washington, D.C. They came to protest budget cuts, the outdated No Child Left Behind Act, and most of all, the importance placed on standardized test scores.

Featuring celebrity headliner Matt Damon and a wide array of educational leaders, speakers emphasized the need for drastic reform.

“We are here because we’re committed to a strong public education system for all of our children,” said Stanford professor Linda Darling-Hammond. “We are here because we want to prepare children for the 21st century they’re entering, not for an endless series of multiple choice tests that deflect us from our mission to teach them well. We are here to protest the policies that produce the segregated and underfunded schools so many of our children attend.”

Speakers voiced dissatisfaction with penalties placed on schools that take in English as a Second Language students or students from poverty-stricken areas. Those schools are effectively punished when their test scores are lower than schools from higher-income areas.