IMG_0767 Progressive Caucus members from the New York City Council went to Albany to lobby the state Senate and Assembly in opposition of Governor Cuomo’s education agenda.  His agenda will funnel more money to charter schools and provide a tax break for billionaires, which is supported by Senate Republicans.  He also wants to administer high-stakes tests and raise the cap on charter schools.


The Progressive Caucus urged lawmakers to address staggering inequalities by making a $2.5 billion investment, which is owed as a result of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity.  They also released a letter addressed to Governor Cuomo, Majority Leader Dean Skelos, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Senator Jeffrey Klein, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Assembly Member Brian Kolb. The Caucus states that the education proposals “leave children to compete in an uneven playing field” and that “New Yorkers need policies that focus on supporting public schools with strategies that improve the performance of students and teachers alike.” The Caucus concludes by calling leaders in Albany to increase “educational outcomes in our state in a meaningful and sustainable way.”

WHAT PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS MEMBERS SAY:

“We’re here in Albany today to emphasize the need for constitutionally guaranteed funding for our public schools,” said NYC Council Education Committee Chair, Daniel Dromm.  “In addition, we oppose any lifting of the cap on charter schools in New York City.  The Governor’s plan to put public schools into receivership is inadequate, and our plan for renewal of schools is much better.  The majority of New Yorkers disapprove of the governor’s plan, agree with ours, and it is time for the Governor to listen.”

“As the Cuomo administration, State Senate and Assembly leadership discuss budget allocations for the fiscal year, I implore Albany legislators to do the right thing and support New York City public schools,” said Co-Chair, Council Member of the Progressive Caucus, Donovan Richards. “Aiding the rapid expansion of charter schools is overemphasizing standardized testing while limiting resources to struggling schools is recipe for disaster. For the upcoming year let us work closely to close the achievement gap for New York City public school students by closing the gap between those who readily have access to needed resources, and those that do not.”

“Our children are more than just a test score,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “To help our public schools thrive, we must invest in them. Albany owes New York City students billions of dollars of education money, and it must not be held hostage to dubious reforms.”

“Across my district, the city, and the state, parents have been organizing in response to dangerous proposals from Governor Cuomo that withhold additional funds from our public schools and increase the emphasis on high-stakes testing, charter schools, and state takeovers, and my progressive caucus colleagues and I are proud to stand with them in their fight,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “For years Governor Cuomo has failed to provide New York City public schools over $2.5 billion they are owed under the Campaign for Fiscal Equity decision. Now, the Governor plans to withhold an additional increase to our public schools unless the State Legislature agrees to a model that leaves our students on an uneven playing field. I couldn’t be prouder of the degree of passion and grassroots activism taking place locally, and I stand in solidarity with my colleagues in calling for a commitment to reforms that will help students and teachers alike.”

“My colleagues and I are committed to fighting for the best interest of New York City’s children, giving them an education that is up to par and maintaining an environment conducive to learning,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras. “For that reason, I stand with Council Member Daniel Dromm and the Progressive Caucus to reject the State having receivership over our local schools, the gross privatization of public schools by way of tax credits to private schools, and the expansion of inadequately regulated charter schools.”

“Public education is a right granted to all New Yorkers, but the State is chipping away at our public schools by withholding millions in funding and encouraging privatization through charter schools,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal. “We will not stand by as the State’s education agenda weakens New York City public schools.”

IN THE NEWS

Legislative Gazette: NYC council members trek to Albany to push public schools agenda 

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