Special Event: Education Funding and Race in New York State
In the American education system, one way to measure how a state or municipality values education is how much they spend per student. There are many variables—cost of living, books, teacher salaries, managing facilities, etc. This number is also a way to track how each student and each school is valued by a given government. Some students have greater needs than others. There is no cookie cutter answer. It is a matter of equity that begets equality.
It is one of the major issues why funding public schools from property taxes is a problem that is “baked into the cake” in our education system. People living in poverty necessarily live on the less valuable property—by definition. Therefore, the taxes collected will be less than other communities. This arrangement is a blight on the education system. The children in need of quality education the most have the least resources to provide it. It becomes a vicious, generational cycle, as parents that had limited educational opportunity raise children in a system that failed them. Because of the way our society is structured, Brown, Black, and immigrant children suffer disproportionately. Many of these systems are in free fall. It falls upon states and the federal government to make up these shortfalls.
New York State and Governor Cuomo
New York State has one of the greatest discrepancies in education spending-per-student in the country. An average of $10,000 per pupil deficit in high-need school districts. In 2006, the state settled a court case brought by Campaign for Fiscal Equity concerning these massive shortfalls. The state settled for $5.5 billion dollars. NYS still owes $4.3 billion. The Alliance for Quality Education has been working with parents, teachers, students, and government officials to rectify this situation. It’s nothing less than a Human Rights issue. This situation is an excellent opportunity for NY Governor Andrew Cuomo to prove his Progressive bonafides. Please sign this petition to help the governor understand the importance of this issue.
The Louisa Project was honored to host a discussion on the issue on January 17, 2017, the day Governor Andrew Cuomo released his budget proposal for the state. Our guests were Political Director Jasmine Gripper, Alliance for Quality Education; Assemblymember Latrice Walker, (AD-55) Brooklyn, and Assemblymember Alicia Hyndman (AD-29) Queens. It was a great conversation; please watch and enjoy.