Green Party calls for increased funding for schools, housing

Green Party calls for increased funding for schools, housing

For immediate release: October 29, 2018

Westchester like rest of state needs to desegregate

The Green Party candidates for Governor and Attorney General were in White Plains today to call for an overhaul of the state’s education policies, including more funding for schools in low-income communities.

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor, said that New York must desegregate its schools and housing.

The Greens say the state should close the $4.2 billion cumulative shortfall in Foundation Aid funding that was intended to meet the requirements of the 2006 ruling in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity case. They say the Attorney General should settle, not fight in court, the lawsuits from New York City and Syracuse parents and the Small Cities for full Foundation Aid funding.

Hawkins noted that the “best way to improve education is end the racial, class, and academic segregation in public schools. Integration has been the most powerful progressive education reform since Brown v. Board of Education by far. It substantially reduces the achievement gap between low- and middle-income students. And all students do better in terms of intellectual self-confidence, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, and tolerance.”

Hawkins blasted Governor Cuomo for failing to address the race and class segregation of schools in New York State.

He called for redrawing school district lines in order to desegregate schools in cities where “school district lines serve as the new Jim Crow lines of segregation.” He said “controlled choice” that replaces student assignment based solely on the attendance zones with families ranking their choices of schools from across the district. Students are then assigned to schools based on their preferences and a formula that ensures a relatively even distribution of students by socioeconomic status across all schools.

Hawkins noted that the late Gerald Grant, an education professor at Syracuse University, had written a book called Hope and Despair in the American City that showed the far superior educational outcomes in the schools in Raleigh/Wake County that integrated by a countywide controlled choice program compared to the segregated schools in Syracuse.

Hawkins said the crisis of housing affordability should be addressed by giving local governments across the state the authority to regulate rents and by repealing to Urstadt Law so that local rent regulations are determined by local governments, not the state government. He said the most cost-effective way to build more affordable housing is public housing rather than subsidies for private developers.

We need a new commitment to quality, integrated public housing. Instead of the old projects that segregated poor people of color, we should build quality human-scale, scatter-site, mixed-income public housing that is powered, heated, and cooled by clean energy. It will be a good jobs program, a desegregation program, and a clean energy program as well as an affordable housing program. The federal government has abandoned public housing. The state needs to step into the vacuum,” Hawkins said.

Mixed-income public housing is common in Europe, where public housing is often over 30% of all rental housing. Public housing accounts for less than 1% of rental units in the United States. The public competition makes private rental housing more affordable. The mix of upper-middle, middle, and low income residents who pay rents based on ability to pay makes European public housing developments more financially self-reliant than American public housing, which is exclusively low income.

Hawkins said his education and housing policies show why he is the only progressive for governor left on the general election ballot.


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