Issues: Quality Education for All

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Gifted-Quality and Vocational Education for All: Provide access to gifted-quality and vocational curricula without tracking for all students in all public schools.

Full Funding

  • Fully fund public schools with an equitable state aid formula.

  • The state should fund the over $4 billion it is behind in providing the aid promised by the Foundation Aid Formula established in 2007.

  • Settle the Funding Lawsuits: Stop the state fighting in court against the two funding equity lawsuits (New York Students’ Educational Rights, Small Cities) and negotiate a settlement to fully and equitably fund all public schools.

  • Reduce class sizes and case loads in public schools.

Desegregate Public Schools

Take affirmative action to desegregate public schools by race and class, the only policy that has worked to radically close achievement gaps and improve the education of all students.

  • Controlled Choice Among Public Schools: Controlled choice 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.
  • Consolidate Segregated School Districts: State legal support and funding incentives for creating metro school districts with desegregation plans. 

End High-Stakes Testing

  • Opt Out of high-stakes testing that dumbs down the curriculum to teaching to the test and punishes students, teachers, and schools in high-poverty school districts simply for being poor.
  • Opt Out of the use of high-stakes testing to rationalize the privatization of high-poverty public schools into privately-managed charter schools.
  • Opt Out of the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) that relies on high-stakes testing to evaluate teachers and principals.
  • Opt In to standards, curricula, and diagnostic tests written by professional teachers in the schools, not by outside corporate contractors.
  • Opt In to teacher and school evaluations based on collaboration.

Stop the Expansion of Charter Schools and the Privatization of Education

Privately-managed charter school chains drain resources from public schools. These nominally "non-profit" schools are profit centers for for-profit management, school supply, and real estate contractors and Wall Street hedge fund investors. Charter schools have increased race and class segregation. They often cherry-pick "profitable" students who do well on standardized tests and expel students who need more help back to the real public schools.

  • Local Control of Charter School Authorization: Amend the state law on charter schools so that only local school boards, not the State Board of Regents and the SUNY Board of Trustees, have the sole power to approve new or renewed authorizations for charter schools in their school districts.
  • Don't Raise the Cap on Charter Schools: Reject proposals to raise the cap on the number of charter schools in the state.
  • Repeal the New Markets Tax Credit: The New Markets Tax Credit gives hedge funds a 39% tax credit on charter school investments plus interest payments on the money they invest, enabling them to double their money in 7 years. New York State should demand that the federal government repeal this tax giveaway to charter schools and fund public schools instead.

Universal Pre-K and Kindergarten: Fully-funded, full-day, and developmentally-appropriate Pre-K and Kindergarten with certified and unionized educators available to all children.

Increase Staffing in the State Education Department: The gross understaffing of the Education Department creates bureaucratic delays and undue burdens on local school districts for everything from school repairs and upgrades in classroom technology to student testing and teacher job evaluations.

Universal Free Public University and Technical Education

  • Make CUNY, SUNY, and Community Colleges tuition-free and accessible for all who want to attend as far as their needs, interests, and abilities take them.

  • The Excelsior Scholarship is not enough. It is a selective scholarship program that poorer students cannot afford to use, not a program for free universal access.

  • Provide a minimum livable income for post-secondary education for up to four years.

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