Public schools are one of the few truly universal and public institutions we have in the United States, and, for many decades, our schools set a global standard for how a developed society treats its working people.
Today, our public schools have seen decades of cuts and a massive increase in policing. Inequality in education access runs rampant, and is deeply racialized. All the while, billionaire interests have successfully pushed to destroy the public school system altogether by creating charter schools. All of this has led to a crisis in our education system.
As a public school teacher, I see the potential of our public schools today — a quality education can tremendously impact young people’s lives. Yet for too many, especially working-class and poor students of color, the opportunity for such an education is denied.
Education justice is personal for me. I see every day how our state fails to provide adequate resources for our students, academically and emotionally. We must address these failures head on, and commit to making sure that high quality public education is available to every New York student.
As a state senator, I will fight for:
- Fair, transparent, and fully-funded Foundation Aid. Foundation Aid is the name of the formula used by the state to determine how much to fund education. The state has failed to fully fund schools since 2008. Billions are owed to public schools across the state. I will fight to ensure that education is always fully funded.
- Directing resources to the neediest schools. Even if Foundation Aid were fully funded, the current formula is outdated and results in high-needs schools being shortchanged. Every student in New York has the right to a quality education, and I will work to ensure our school funding formula can provide that.
- More counselors in schools instead of police, and mandatory de-escalation training for teachers, as well as addressing racial biases in diagnosing students with IEPs (Individualized Education Programs). Students should not face the threat of police violence nor should they be made to feel criminal while in school. We must end the school-to-prison pipeline by removing police from school and limiting punitive measures, which are used disproportionately against brown and black students.
- A transition away from high stakes testing and toward the evaluation of students in multiple ways, including through portfolios, presentations, and research papers.
- A moratorium on new charter schools that take money from the public school system.
- A fully funded CUNY/SUNY system that is accessible to all students and pays faculty and staff a living wage.
- The demands put forward by Teens Take Charge, an organization of New York City high school students, including the establishment of minimum diversity requirements, the replacement of the SHSAT (Specialized High School Admissions Test) with a top 7% enrollment plan for New York City’s specialized schools, and the equitable redistribution of a portion of the funds of the wealthiest PTAs.
- Fair wages and just working conditions for all public educators.
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