"Education insolvency" is becoming increasingly likely for New York schools as budget cuts and local revenue caps drain resources from school districts, writes Billy Easton, Executive Director of Alliance for Quality Education. In a hard-hitting op-ed column for the New York Times, Easton, whose organization is on the front lines of the fight to secure equitable funding for all NY students, criticizes the state's education education policy, which has left school districts high and dry and has created a looming economic crisis that could engulf the entire state.
As Easton explains, "the obvious losers are students." As schools are forced to narrow curriculums and cut non-core classes, students are less likely to fulfill graduation requirements or succeed in the highly competitive college admission process, which, in turn, affects their career prospects. "But ultimately, all new Yorkers will suffer as the lack of skilled workers becomes a long-term drain on economic activity across the state."
Perhaps even more concerning is that NY Governor Andrew Cuomo insists on downplaying the effects of this education funding crisis in order to advance his own agenda:
"Simultaneously, Mr. Cuomo has been a proponent of trendy “market reforms,” like increasing the role of standardized tests in evaluating teachers and using the same tests to make school districts compete with one another for resources. These so-called reforms may be cheaper, but they are no substitute for the proven programs that are being cut.
Around the world, countries with the top-performing schools, like Finland, Singapore and Canada, all emphasize equity in school financing to provide added resources for schools in poorer communities. These international leaders also emphasize ensuring that all students have access to a high-quality curriculum and providing all teachers with support to continuously improve their skills — instead of forcing teachers and schools to compete for artificially limited pools of money.
Governor Cuomo has promoted himself as a leader in education policy. His mastery of Albany’s famously dysfunctional politics has made him one of the nation’s rising political stars. But the results in the classroom do not match his rhetoric — and unless our state government changes course on education funding policy, they never will."