EDUCATION

Schools all across the state are still owed millions in general operating aid- known as Foundation Aid. But Governor Cuomo has significant control over the budget process, and he’s used this power to deny New York’s school districts the $3.8 billion still owed, including $8.5 million for our schools right here in Assembly District 50.  Imagine what our schools could do for our students if they were fully funded?

Full-funding would bring us that much closer to educating the whole child. Right now our children, our schools, our teachers, our city-school district, are evaluated based on how well students do on standardized tests. These biased assessments fail to take students’ humanity into account. Consider these stats: more than 100,000 NYC public school students are homeless, and many more show up to school hungry. In our Assembly district alone, between 63 and 71% of students live in poverty, and about 30% were chronically absent from school in 2019. Students are more likely to see a police officer than a guidance counselor in their school hallways, 

It’s far past time we realize that investing in our students is not an option—it’s a necessity and a sacred trust with parents. I take that responsibility seriously.

 

Fully Invest In Our Schools

  • I will fight for our schools to receive the $8.5 million they are owed in Foundation Aid, but we can’t stop there. It’s time to reevaluate how we fund our schools and ensure that factors such as special education and English language learner status are equitably taken into account.
  • New York City public schools employ more school safety officers–NYPD officers– than guidance counselors and social workers combined. We need to destroy the school-to-prison pipeline, and it starts with removing police from our schools and investing in social services and support. 
  • Our teachers are real-life superheroes and deserve to be compensated for their dedication. Teacher salaries must reflect the work and responsibility we expect them to undertake. We also need to invest in continuous culturally competent professional development that will help our teachers support their most vulnerable students.

Educate the Whole Child

  • Community schools not only support the physical, emotional, and social wellbeing of students, but also result in higher achievement rates, lower dropout rates, stronger parent engagement, and safer school environments. We need to invest in this locally-driven model that will transform our students’ public education experience. 
  • I support the Board of Regents in their effort to replace standardized test graduation requirements. As an Assemblymember, I will ensure any policy introduced is based on diverse expert opinions and recommendations, and not crafted by elected officials who do not have any classroom experience and are more concerned with political horsetrading. 

Protect Students’ Privacy

  • Governor Cuomo’s desire to “reimagine education” in partnership with the Gates Foundation takes no imagination at all; he’s tried it before, and it failed. Parents and educators across New York fought to sever ties with inBloom, a Gates Foundation-funded nonprofit that was meant to store student data, after learning about the haphazard steps taken to protect student privacy. I will fight the corporatization of our education system that turns our student data into a commodity. 
  • It’s not enough to say companies and third parties vendors cannot use student data for their own benefit. I will introduce legislation to increase oversight, enforcement, and penalties for any violation that puts students’ privacy at risk. 

Redefine the College Experience

  • Free tuition does little to help real students, who must still pay for housing, food, and other basic needs. We need to transition CUNY and SUNY into real, free college systems while investing in strong social service supports. 
  • We must increase our investment in community colleges, which serve some of our most vulnerable and basic-needs insecure students.