Fund Quality Public Education
Provide funding for more social workers, nurses and librarians. Provide funding for the arts and STEM programming for all. Free college and postsecondary training. Get cops out of schools; end the criminalization of Black and Brown students. Provide an anti-racism curriculum and restorative justice programming in all schools. Eliminate standardized testing. End mayoral control. No profit motives in public education!
- New York City public schools are segregated, a word synonymous with being underfunded and neglected. Nearly 70 years after Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark legislation that called for school integration, NYC remains the most segregated public school system in the country. NYC public school students are 85% students of color with over 67% being Black and Latino; 72.8% of students live in poverty; 13.2% of students are English Language Learners; and 20.2% of students have an identified disability. Almost 30% of schools have at least 15% of students in temporary (read: insecure) housing.
- These are the outside factors that affect our students and their families. Then there is the quality of education our students receive. Little support for teachers, high teacher turnover, a data-dependent system driven by standardized tests, metal detectors, cops in schools, racialized suspension rates and annual budget cuts severely impact the academic and social-emotional learning of the most vulnerable students in our city.
- We believe in fighting both inside and outside the classroom for our students, families and communities. For us, the fight goes beyond equitable funding and integration. We call for making a quality education a basic human right from kindergarten to post-secondary education. No student should be competing or fighting for access to neighborhood schools or specialized high schools — we demand a public school system that guarantees equitable and quality access to resources, technology and knowledge regardless of the zip code in which students are born.
- We demand:
- Fund social workers, nurses, librarians and the arts. Black, Brown and poor students need additional resources to support their learning and living. Schools need additional social workers, nurses on staff, and librarians as well as consistent funding and prioritization of health, fitness, arts and music programming.
- Fund programming in all schools that works to eliminate the digital divide and prepares students for 21st-century living. This includes funding STEM programming, robotics classes, coding programming, and more.
- Free post-secondary opportunities. College and job training should be free for all young people. CUNY should be free for all NYC residents regardless of their income or legal status. A college degree has become a necessity to obtain any entry level job. Tuition should not impede a young person from pursuing post-secondary education if they choose. Young people who want to learn trades or enter other job-training programs should be able to do so for free.
- Cops out of schools. End the criminalization of our Black and Brown students. There is no room in the public school budget for metal detectors or police.
- Restorative Justice programming and training in all schools. Suspensions can no longer be used as the default to relate to students. Students and teachers must receive conflict-resolution and relationship-building training.
- Anti-racist curriculum. Across NYC, many teachers have taken it upon themselves to create curricula — from art to english to science — that treats the history of oppressed people as a central component of U.S. history, not just an afterthought.
- Eliminate standardized testing. Standardized testing should not be used to measure student learning, evaluate teachers, or used to determine school funding. It erodes the purpose of education, which should be holistic and liberatory, not punitive.
- End mayoral control. Since 2002, under Mayor Bloomberg, the state legislature granted mayoral control, which means the mayor has the power to appoint the city’s schools’ chancellor and a majority of the Board of Education, known as the Panel for Educational Policy. This impacts school closures, caps on charter schools, how funding is allocated, and as we saw in the last year, the mismanagement of school closures during the pandemic. In 2022, the state legislature must vote to end mayoral control.
- The profit motive must be removed from public education. Schools are integral to communities and we support community-based grassroots struggles of poor and working families and students to have a say in their schools. Whether it is standardized testing, purchasing curriculum from corporate vendors, or fueling a competitive enrollment and admissions system, profit is the basis of this unequal system. A movement both in and outside of schools focusing on the needs of our most vulnerable students is what is needed.