Protesters gave Mayor Michael Bloomberg an example of just how many are against his proposed cuts to education Thursday.
Demonstrators unfurled six huge rolls of paper containing more than 16,000 signatures.
They hope the signatures will persuade the mayor to restore close to $400 million worth of cuts to education and prevent thousands of teacher layoffs.
"It would be so devastating to our children,” said Leonie Haimson, executive director of Class Size Matters. “I really think that there is nothing that's more important than the personal relationship between every child and his or her teacher. You cannot trample on their future this way."
"The mayor said that one of the things he wants to make sure happens this year is that he starts to have real parent engagement,” said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers. “Well, 20,000 parents came here today and signed petitions for you to read."
Mayor Bloomberg says Albany and Washington are to blame for the funding cuts.