Public action needed to end state’s two-tier education system
By Michael Glover | GVEP District Superintendent
Increasingly and tragically, an educational caste system is being instituted by policies of Governor Cuomo and legislature.
Schools in low-wealth communities are being forced to reduce advanced placement courses; enrichment opportunities; and offerings in the arts, athletics and remediation.
The consequences of net reductions in state aid over the past several years, a cap on state aid growth and the use of rapidly diminishing reserve funds have been dramatic and injurious to students in low-wealth school districts.
The most worrisome aspect of the current situation is that it is systematic in nature. It is not fleeting. There is no end in sight and the worst is yet to come.
We have two public school systems in New York. One is the kind of school we want for all students, is attended in affluent communities and features of the finest programs and services found anywhere in the nation.
The other is the public school system in poor rural, suburban and urban areas finds itself struggling to maintain the sound basic education guaranteed under the state constitution.
Graduates of that system, despite the excellent work of dedicated teachers, administrators, school board members and staff, are at a competitive disadvantage.
“Educate NY Now” is an alliance of educators, parents, advocacy groups and concerned citizens working together to make all of New York’s public schools, no matter where they are located, the best in the nation.
We are calling on the governor and legislator to remove the cap on state aid growth; fund foundation aid rather than ill-conceived competitive grants; and restore funding lost through the Gap Elimination Adjustment, a regressive “take back” of school aid that disproportionately impacts our neediest students.
Please visit the Educate NY Now website www.educateNYnow.org and sign as a supporter of these principles. Then write a letter to the governor and your legislators.
Let them know that even in difficult economic times — especially in difficult economic times — they cannot walk away from a constitutional obligation to provide for a sound basic education for all of New York’s children.
Michael Glover is District Superintendent of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, formerly called the Genesee Valley BOCES, headquartered in LeRoy.