Over the past decade, I have been proud to work with and support the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE) in NY. This group of parents, community activists and teachers have pushed hard to make sure every student in New York State has access to an opportunity to learn. Yesterday, Billy Easton wrote a great Op-ed in The New York Times discussing how Governor Cuomo and his allies are increasing the opportunity gap for many of the state’s most disadvantaged students. Tragically, but unsurprisingly, brutal budget cuts have hit poor districts much worse than middle class and wealthy ones. Simultaneously while Albany has cut off state aid, policymakers have also hobbled districts’ ability to raise funds through local taxes. AQE is steadily building awareness, mobilizing parents, students, and educators. I hope they follow the good example of students in Quebec and Egypt today and students from the lunch counter sit-ins of the 60s. Austerity is not inevitable, if we build strong movements against it. -- Greg
Albany's Unkindest Cut of All In most states, top-ranked high school seniors are shoo-ins to attend their local state universities. But that's not how it goes in New York these days. In one recent, glaring case, the valedictorian of a rural school district outside Rochester was rejected by a nearby State University of New York campus -- not because her grades were too low, but because her high school didn't offer the courses needed to compete for college admission. Such stories are becoming increasingly common across New York State. Poor school districts are being forced to cut electives, remedial tutoring, foreign languages and other programs and services to balance budgets. Many schools in less prosperous areas face what the state commissioner of education calls "educational insolvency." The obvious losers are students, who will be less prepared for graduation, college and their careers. But ultimately, all New Yorkers will suffer as the lack of skilled workers becomes a long-term drain on economic activity across the state. Read more at The New York Times >
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