Nearly one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, too many students in New York are still struggling to engage in meaningful learning because of a lack of resources. Many children are shut out of remote classrooms without access to laptops, WiFi, language or disability services. Many students, families and educators are cut off from social and emotional supports that they desperately need. Many districts do not have the money to reopen school buildings in a way that ensures the safety of staff and students.
The fact is Black, Latinx, immigrant, and low income students are far likelier to be facing these challenges than their white counterparts. But the pandemic did not create all the inequities and disparities — it only exacerbated them. For years Governor Cuomo has fought to make sure that public schools are shortchanged in state budgets. And when Governor Cuomo shortchanges aid to public schools, he most harms the state’s Black and Latinx students, whose schools rely the most on state funding.
Education Committee Chairs Senator Shelley Mayer and Assemblyman Michael Benedetto play a strategic role in state budget negotiations. That’s why they need to hear from us NOW that we demand a budget that puts the children and students of New York State first! Email Chairwoman Mayer and Chairman Benedetto demanding they tax the ultra rich, and make funding New York’s public schools the top priority in the state budget.
They must reject the Governor’s budget proposal for the coming year which fails to address the growing needs of students, educators and families — and worse, avoids raising taxes on the ultra rich by cutting state funding for education, filling the hole with one-time federal aid that Congress intended as pandemic relief for our schools.
No matter how much federal funding New York receives, the state has a responsibility to students to ensure the sustainability of our public schools going forward. The state should tax the ultra wealthy to close the budget gap in order to maintain state support for our schools, instead of reducing its own responsibility to students.
The real path to economic recovery must include a robust plan to invest in our children and their future. It is more important than ever before that the state ensures stable and sustainable funding for all essential services, including public education and access to early care and learning. Send an email to Education Chairwoman Mayer and Chairman Benedetto demanding they prioritize funding New York’s public schools in the state budget.