Gov. Cuomo Erases Black & Brown New Yorkers Fighting for Educational Equity 1

Gov. Cuomo Erases Black & Brown New Yorkers Fighting for Educational Equity

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 1, 2020) — The public education advocacy organization Alliance for Quality Education released the following statement in response to comments made by Governor Cuomo regarding education on Sunday:

“Yesterday Governor Cuomo told a boldfaced lie to rewrite a version of history in which he is a lone voice in New York speaking up for schools — a lie that advocates, parents, members of the legislature and the press saw through immediately. At a moment when Black and Brown communities across the nation are being met with violence from law enforcement in the struggle to be seen, Governor Cuomo has casually erased the contributions of Black and Brown New Yorkers in the fight for educational equity.

“Governor Cuomo’s policies have deepened inequality in public schools, and reinforced the structures of educational racism in New York. Instead of taking responsibility, Governor Cuomo gaslights the people of New York, accusing us of being silent on public education funding. He completely erases years of work that Black, Brown and low-income parents have done to fight for our children’s education. Every year, we literally bring this fight to his door at the State Capitol, and every year, he refuses to listen. In fact, Cuomo’s ability to overlook parents, students and educators is the perfect illustration of why we still don’t have equity in our schools, more than a decade after the Campaign for Fiscal Equity court ruling.

“Our demands have been clear and consistent since Day 1 of Cuomo’s administration. If he listened to parents, students and educators instead of his billionaire campaign donors, he would know what New Yorkers have been demanding.

“The Governor is lamenting educational inequity before the ink dries on his $1.1 billion cut to the highest need school districts in this year’s enacted budget. The fact is that he has been on a mission to underfund high need public schools ever since his first year as Governor, when he cut over $1 billion from schools, while giving a tax break to millionaires. He glosses over the fact that the per pupil funding gap, which he called “ludicrous and repugnant” yesterday, has grown nearly 25 percent during his time in office. Our public school system relies on local property taxes, and it is the responsibility of New York State — according to state law — to make up the shortfall to high need districts with state aid. Yet Cuomo has fought against increasing state aid and fully funding New York’s schools using its equitable funding formula, Foundation Aid.

“In 2019 during budget negotiations, both houses of the State Legislature proposed fully funding Foundation Aid, but Governor Cuomo proposed pennies on the dollar for public education. He has only to look at his own actions to answer his question of why it is, as he asked, that “the children of the rich get a much better education than the children of the poor.” How do we justify this? How is it fair? Only you, Governor Cuomo, can answer that. Tell us: how is it that you sleep at night knowing you have denied Black, Brown and poor children access to a quality education? Every year parents, students and educators from the poorest counties in New York travel to Albany to demand their fair share of state aid for their schools.

“The fact is New York parents are empowered, and see right through the Governor’s lies. They know that the Governor and his excuses are standing in the way of education justice and his policies are propping up educational racism.”

Below are the demands of parents across New York State as they fight for public schools:

  • Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature must fully fund $4 billion that New York State owes public schools in Foundation Aid
  • The New York State Legislature must pass, and Governor Cuomo must enact, the Solutions, Not Suspensions bill (S767b/A1981b)
  • Fulfill the promise of statewide universal Pre-K