Tell Cuomo: Keep DeVos Out of NY State

cuomo devosGovernor Cuomo has called the State Senate and Assembly back into session in order to extend mayoral control for NYC schools for the coming year. Most members of the legislature support mayoral control.

However, Republicans in the State Senate, led by Majority Leader Flanagan, are trying to force through a bill that would extend mayoral control only if NYC accepted a dramatic increase in the number of new charter schools permitted to open in the city. Their legislation would also remove all caps placed on charter school expansion in areas outside the city and introduce tax credits for parents who send their children to private schools.

This is right out of the Betsy DeVos playbook and would be devastating for public schools and public school students in the city.

Here’s why:

  • Research demonstrates that unchecked charter school expansion has fueled resegregation in urban school districts. Charter schools also suspend more black students and children with disabilities than their public school counterparts. As a result, the NAACP recently joined a growing chorus of civil rights groups calling for a nationwide moratorium on charter schools.


  • Charter schools lack the financial and instructional oversight of district public schools and are consequently more prone to fraud and profit-driven corporate corruption.


  • There is growing evidence that many rapidly expanding charter school networks intentionally exclude and fail to meet the needs of students with disabilities. In fact, charter schools in NYC “lose” an average of 6-11% of their students annually, whereas public schools tend to gain students as children get older. These “lost” students are usually struggling children who wind up in their district public schools after being expelled or counseled out of charters.  


  • Although there are some excellent charter schools in NYC (which will be unhindered by keeping the current cap), there is no evidence that charter schools, on the whole, perform better than neighborhood public schools, or that shutting down community schools and replacing them with privately-run charters is the best way to help our underserved communities.  


  • Most important, increasing the number of charter schools permitted to open in NYC means increasing the number of public schools that will be starved of resources via a loss of per-pupil funding and will ultimately be shut down.


Here’s what you can do:

  1. Call your state senator:

*Note: If your state senator is a member of the IDC (Independent Democratic Conference), he/ she voted yes on Flanagan’s bill to increase the charter cap.

2. Call your assembly member:

3. Call Governor Cuomo: 518-474-8390

Script: Hi, my name is… and I’m a constituent from… (zip). [Insert personal details: I am a public school parent, teacher, graduate etc.] I am calling because I believe we should renew mayoral control for NYC schools without lifting the charter school cap. We need well-funded public schools with qualified teachers not more chain charter schools. [Feel free to include more reasons from above]



How Trump’s Pro-Billionaire Budget cuts to education, housing, healthcare, the EPA, the NIH and the CDC would hurt ME.

After Trump’s budget came out a few weeks ago, I thought about my daily routine and how the cuts he is proposing would impact my day to day life. Here’s a day in my life thinking about the impacts of budget cuts and the AHCA.

At 7 am, as I get dressed, I make a mental note to start work on my loan forgiveness program. Something I’ve been meaning to do for months. I’ve been teaching in a public elementary school in Brooklyn for five years now. Like many of my colleagues, I’m in debt and counting on federal loan forgiveness for public servants to pay off my loans — -for now.

I ride my bike to work. I can breathe easily. Trees line the streets. For now.I imagine what it would feel like to bike to school along the East River without regulations that keep our air and water clean, without a well funded EPA. My school, in Williamsburg Brooklyn, is right near a superfund site.

I arrive in my classroom and start setting up for the day. My school relies on Title One funding for low income schools from the federal government and serves a diverse population of students and families. Although Title One funds are safe in the new budget, we also host a federally funded free after school program. Hundreds of our kids do their homework and eat their dinners as part of this program. For now.

Many of my students receive occupational and physical therapy provided through Medicaid — -for now. These are services my students desperately need. With cuts to Medicaid, school districts across the country may have to cut funding for these services for children.

My students include immigrants from the Dominican republic, Puerto Rico and Mexico. Many of these families are already being pushed out of our gentrified neighborhood because of sky-high rents. With cuts to public and affordable housing, many more of them will likely become homeless. I have students who already live in shelters and rely on food stamps- another program that Trump wants to cut. I know from experience that it is not possible to teach a hungry child who hasn’t slept the night before.

In the middle of my first class, a student starts crying because she doesn’t feel well. I feel her forehead and she has a fever. I send her to the nurse and quickly wash my hands before continuing with the lesson. I can feel safe that myself and my students won’t be exposed to dangerous contagious diseases thanks to the CDC and the NIH. For now. What happens when they lose funding?

After lunch, I get an email from my doctor telling me that my bloodwork is normal. I am immunosuppressed because I had a liver transplant when I was 19. It means I get sick easily and often, and it’s why I have to quickly wash my hands after interacting with a sick child. Because I have a pre-existing condition, insurance companies don’t want to cover my care. But they have to because of the ACA. For now.

I get home and I make myself dinner. I can trust that the food I purchased is safe to eat and the water I’m drinking is clean. For now. Without EPA regulations on industry dumping in waterways, will clean water become a luxury item?

Trump’s budget has REAL implications for ALL of us. Every day.