Through the formation of parent-led Education Committees, parents and community members are engaging in local work to raise awareness of the impact of the state’s underfunding on school districts. In Buffalo, Utica, Rochester, Hudson Valley parents are getting together to build power to transform the schools in their communities and statewide.
Parent & Leadership Development
In New York City, AQE welcomed our second cohort for the Education Warriors program, which began meeting in January. Parent leaders are learning new skills and putting them in action right now as we engage in advocacy around the state budget from organizing meetings with other parents, meeting with elected officials and helping to fill buses to Albany.
Parents at the State Capitol
Nowhere is the fight for school funding more pressing than in Rochester, New York.
Right before the winter break the district announced plans to lay off over 100 educations and in the middle of the school year, thousands of students and educators have stepped up to fight against the cuts. AQE has been organizing Rochester students, parents and educators to get the full funding their schools need and are owed from the state. Rochester parents, students and educators came to Albany to hold state officials accountable as state budget negotiations are underway.
Bringing it all back home
In Utica, after months of being ignored by state leaders, parents finally got their state Assemblymember to speak up in support of fighting for state aid owed to their district. The Assemblymember agreed to write an op-ed calling for the full funding of Utica schools in the state budget. AQE’s parent-run Education Committee organized an event with students, parents, grandparents, and teachers to deliver handmade valentines to her, asking her to fully fund local public schools.
AQE published its annual comparative analysis of the Executive budget proposal with the recommendations of the New York State Board of Regents.
AQE released a breakdown of Foundation Aid owed by school district as reference guide for for the 2020-21 legislative session.
In February Executive Director Jasmine Gripper was invited to testify at the Joint Committee Hearings for Public Education. Her full testimony is available here.
The New York Advisory Committee to the United States Commission for Civil Rights released a report finding that New York’s chronic underfunding of schools discriminates against Black and Latinx students. AQE testified at the Commission’s hearings last June.
Executive Director Jasmine Gripper and Advocacy Director Zakiyah Ansari were #24 on City & State’s Education Power 100, recognizing the 100 most powerful education leaders in New York.
Tom Sheppard, who graduated from the program last fall, testified at the State Senate Foundation Aid Roundtable at Bayside High School in Queens in November. Read about him in Chalkbeat and AMNY.
The Albany Times Union Editorial Board called for fully funding Foundation Aid, citing AQE’s analysis in its argument.
City Limits published an op-ed by Senator Robert Jackson calling to reject austerity in the state budget process, and fully fund public schools.