Students, communities have been made vulnerable to lasting impacts by the State’s persistent underfunding of public schools
ALBANY, N.Y. (March 10, 2020) — In response to Governor Cuomo’s announcement to create a COVID-19 containment area in New Rochelle which includes public schools, the public education advocacy organization Alliance for Quality Education released the following statement:
“The New Rochelle School District leaders have worked hard to keep students and educators safe amidst the COVID-19 outbreak in their community. There are zero cases of COVID-19 within the schools. More than half of the students in New Rochelle High School come from families that are economically disadvantaged. The New Rochelle High School serves 3,481 students, and closing the school for 2 weeks leaves the district scrambling to find ways to educate their students. Staying home or finding alternative learning sites will create lots of challenges for district officials, students and their families,” said Jasmine Gripper, Executive Director, Alliance for Quality Education.
“The schools that have the fewest resources to reach students at home are serving the students with the greatest needs. Students and educators in high-needs communities have greater challenges when responding COVID-19 because every year over the past decade Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature have failed to fully fund the Foundation Aid formula. Currently, New York State owes Rochelle School District $23 million in Foundation Aid.”
“The COVID-19 outbreak is shining a light on how the State’s choice to underinvest in communities leaves them vulnerable, not only to the immediate health impacts of the virus, but to lasting educational, social and economic impact.”
“Investing in communities makes them resilient, but it also allows them to thrive. It is not acceptable at any time — during a health crisis or otherwise — when schools are the only place that students are guaranteed a hot meal; when thousands of students who are homeless rely on schools as their only place of consistency. The fact that so many students lack access to technology and internet at home makes remote learning impossible during a crisis, but it also makes doing their homework challenging every night. School leaders and educators work hard to piece together resources to provide stability for their students. Governor Cuomo needs to step up his leadership for our public schools by being an advocate for resources and investments in students, families and communities.”