(Long Island, NY) The Alliance for Quality Education’s Executive Director Billy Easton will deliver testimony today to the Assembly and Senate Joint Hearings on the Governor’s Education Budget proposal. Below are highlighted excerpts.
School Funding: Expanding Inequality, Holding Students and Schools Hostage
“The school aid increase of $1.06 billion proposed in the governor’s executive budget falls far short of the $2 billion or more that the State Board of Regents and 83 Assembly and Senate members. Under the tenure of the Cuomo administration, inequality of opportunity has reached record setting levels this budget proposal would only make matters worse. Our schools need a $2.2 billion increase and it needs to be focused on high needs schools and students.
The governor is holding the state legislature and the school districts children and families they represent hostage to a reform agenda promoted by billionaire hedge fund managers. He says he will not give a penny to art, music, school libraries, or anything else unless the legislature agrees to more emphasis on Common Core testing and punishing for students and teachers. It is like a gun is being held to the heads of the legislature and they must say no to our public schools being hijacked by the agenda of the governor’s campaign donors.”
Testing and Teacher Evaluations: More Testing, Reduced Quality, State Takeover of Local Teaching
“The Governor describes the teacher evaluation system as ‘baloney’, but if that is true he must be Oscar Mayer because he designed this evaluation system and forced it through the legislature. His solution is to dramatically increase the role of state standardized tests which will result in more teaching to the test. Experts ranging from The RAND Corporation to the American Statistical Association have warned against using test scores in this way and that such evaluations ‘can have unintended consequences that reduce quality.’
The Governor huge commitment to high stakes testing for students and teachers is one example of how his agenda represents the greatest state takeover of local education policy ever contemplated in the history of New York. Wall Street hedge funders and the Governor should not be control everything ever teacher does in every classroom across the state.”
Pre-K: Broken Promise for Upstate and Suburbs
“The Governor promised full-day pre-K for every four year old in the state. Last year he only delivered for five percent of four year olds in upstate and suburban New York. This year Governor Cuomo did not propose to expand pre-k for a single four-year-old. This can only be considered a cynical ploy by a governor motivated by his personal political maneuvers and not by the needs of our four year olds or their families.”
“The Governor is proposing a massive diversion of hundreds of millions of dollars into private schools and privately run charter schools. Unlike funding for public schools this funding is not being held hostage by the proposals that threaten public schools. He supports a dramatic expansion in the number of privately run charter schools, but does nothing about the fraud, waste and abuse of taxpayer funds in these schools. He promised legislation to ensure these schools fairly serve all students, rather than weeding out harder to serve students, but his proposal is toothless and just provides privately run charter schools with cover. He also supports an education tax credit for private schools which is essentially a voucher program and a giveaway of taxpayer dollars to wealthy contributors who can afford donations of one million dollars to private schools.”
“The DREAM Act should be enacted immediately because it is a vital opportunity for young people who are growing up in New York now. It stands on its own merits and should not be tied up with other unrelated budget proposals.”
The Alliance for Quality Education is a coalition mobilizing communities across the state to keep New York true to its promise of ensuring a high quality public education to all students regardless of zip code, income or race. Combining its legislative and policy expertise with grassroots organizing, AQE advances proven-to-work strategies that lead to student success and echo a powerful public demand for a high quality education.