Educate New York

 

Cynthia Nixon is a proud public school graduate and an even prouder public school parent. Cynthia became an advocate for public schools 17 years ago when her oldest child entered kindergarten. The school Cynthia dropped Sam off at that first day looked nothing like the school she had visited the summer before, as the school’s art teacher, music teacher, assistant principal, and two-thirds of the para-professionals had been fired, due to city-wide budget cuts.

That year, Cynthia joined thousands of parents in successfully organizing to stop almost $400 million in cuts to New York City schools. The following year, Cynthia joined with parents across the State to win a long-term solution for the enormous under-funding of low-income school districts, the large majority of which serve communities of color.

In 2007, that solution came in the form of Foundation Aid, a state funding formula that increased funding for primarily high-need, low-income school districts.  However, that additional aid came to a screeching halt under Governor Cuomo. In his first year in office, he refused to continue payment on the new funding formula and instead enacted a $1.3 billion cut to schools. The education cuts went to fund  an enormous tax cut to the wealthy and corporations.

The Governor’s refusal to address inequity has devastating consequences. Our state currently has the second highest inequality in funding between rich and poor school districts in the nation, a gap that has grown by 24 percent under Andrew Cuomo.

In addition to being underfunded, schools that serve communities of color have become increasingly criminalized. Now children can come into contact with the law at a very young age in school, where suspensions for children of color are inordinately high and police are often inappropriately involved for infractions that should be addressed through lesser disciplinary approaches.

Together, the underfunding and criminalization of schools that disproportionately serve children of color have created two different education systems in New York State. White, wealthy children are prepared for college, and low-income, children of color are disproportionately put into the school to prison pipeline.

Our children need schools, not jails. As Governor, Cynthia Nixon will provide our low-income schools the funding they need, and she will implement a birth-to-college approach to public education that allows every child to reach their full potential.

 

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