The fight for public schools in New York gets more tense every day. Here’s where we are:
Andrew Cuomo proposed a budget that is bad for our children and our future. He proposed some money for education funding, but only if it comes with more testing, and more diversion of public money to privately-run schools. His budget doesn’t come close to the amount required by the state constitution to provide a basic education to all children.
Last week, the Assembly, led by Carl Heastie proposed an increase of $1.8 billion–not what the constitution requires, but much closer–and rejected Cuomo’s efforts to tie funding to more testing and more privatized schools.
The negotiations between the two budgets are happening right now.
Cuomo is working for some very wealthy hedge fund managers who are determined to run state education policy. Just last week we learned that yet another school-privatization PAC was started.
But the people-powered movement for schools around the state is on fire. Over 200 schools protested last week. Finger Lakes’ teachers sent 1,000 apples to Governor Cuomo.1 In Manhattan, parents, teachers and community members formed a human chain around Spruce Street School to protect it from Cuomo’s policies. Similar protests took place in over 80 other schools across the city.2 Yesterday, there was an amazing protest in Greenwich, Connecticut, against Paul Tudor Jones, the hedge fund manager who has bankrolled the anti-schools agenda.3
This is a fight for our children. Some areas–like Gustavo Rivera’s Bronx Senate District4–are owed $131 million by the state. Think about what it means to run a school without the money for counselors, art, and PE. Imagine teaching a class with 33 kids in it.
We have to stand and support the Assembly budget, we have to stand with Mayor de Blasio and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner, who have been outspoken in opposing Cuomo’s plans.
If you have or know kids in public schools, you know what the testing regime is doing to children’s love of learning, and you know how important small classes, arts and sports and counselors are to a full education.
Join the protests organized around the state, or email and call your elected officials. Pick the politician you know, the one you love, or the one that makes you angry–what matters is that you speak out. Tell them you believe we owe every child their constitutional right to a basic, sound education. Tell them you understand that its a hard fight, but that you are with them.
A simple thing you can do is join this thunderclap to help broadcast our message.
Under New York’s Constitution, the Governor has outsized power, so the Assembly needs our back. Cuomo will try to use the April 1st budget date to force the Assembly to compromise. But I–and I hope you–believe that a budget that is dangerous for our children is worse than a late budget. I’ll stand with the Assembly if it forces a late budget, in order to get more power for its education vision.
Together, we can stop Cuomo’s destructive plans, and support our children.
Zephyr for New York · 225 Broadway, Suite 1902, New York City, NY 10007, United States