EdTrust–NY urges state leaders to advance policies that enhance education equity

by | Jan 3, 2018 | Press Release

As state leaders set their priorities for the upcoming budget and legislative season, we urge them to advance policies that improve opportunity and achievement for students at all levels of New York’s education system, from early childhood to K-12 education to college affordability, access, and completion. There were several promising proposals included in today’s State of the State agenda released by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo.

The following statements can be attributed to Ian Rosenblum, Executive Director of The Education Trust–New York. 

Improving access to a diverse teacher workforce

“Ed Trust–NY’s ‘See Our Truth’ report raised awareness about the critical role that strong and diverse teachers and school leaders play in student success and in closing achievement and opportunity gaps. In our research, we heard from educators of color across the state about the importance of improving mentorship in order to recruit and retain educators of color, and we are encouraged by the Governor’s proposal to link the state’s Master Teachers program to provide mentorship to Teacher Opportunity Corps programs that are preparing future teachers of color. This is a good step and we will look forward to additional opportunities to advance this important agenda.”

Investing in early childhood education

“Every additional dollar invested in high-quality early childhood education is a wise investment in New York’s future. The proposal to increase 3- and 4-year-old pre-kindergarten funding by $15 million will provide long-term benefits for children. We look forward to additional information about the level of per-pupil funding, how quality will be ensured and made transparent through support for programs like QUALITYstarsNY, and how high-need communities across the state will be able to benefit from this expansion.”

“We also look forward to the work of the Child Care Availability Task Force, which is an opportunity to expand access to affordable high-quality care and early learning opportunities for young children.”

Investing in after-school programs to support homeless students

“Last year’s report by Ed Trust–NY and our partners in the statewide equity coalition found that 10 percent of all students who took the New York State grades 3-8 assessments in 2015-16 were either homeless or formerly homeless, and those students were half as likely to meet state benchmarks as their peers who had never been homeless. The Governor’s proposal to target after-school funds to school districts with high rates of childhood homelessness can provide increased academic support for these vulnerable students.” 

Expanding college and career readiness

“Building on New York’s highly successful P-TECH model, the state is poised to invest $9 million to prepare students for high-demand industries and create new partnerships between K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and regional employers. This is a powerful opportunity to expand access to courses and learning opportunities that prepare students for college and for jobs that pay a family-sustaining wage”

“In addition, the Governor’s proposal to expand access to Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses will improve college readiness and attainment by enabling more students to enroll in rigorous coursework, particularly in schools that have lower college-going rates and that do not already have access to these courses.”

Addressing hunger and food instability for all students

“All students need access to healthy food. Addressing food insecurity for children and young adults – including in our public schools and at SUNY and CUNY – is crucial to students’ health, development and success. Importantly, the Governor’s proposal provides essential leadership in tackling hunger and food instability for college students, whose needs too often go unaddressed.”

Protecting student loan borrowers

“Higher education offers a pathway to economic security. But for too many students and graduates – particularly those who are first-generation college students – the crushing toll of student loan debt creates significant barriers. New York communities with average income under $50,000 owe $35 billion in student loan debt and represent nearly half of the state’s student loan borrowers. Additional transparency and consumer protections are crucial to providing all students with economic opportunity.”

Passing the DREAM Act

“Enabling all students – regardless of immigration status – to participate in New York’s Tuition Assistance Program and all other scholarships and loans is simply a matter of economic and educational justice.”

“We look forward to providing further analysis after the full details of these proposals become available, and to determining whether the state budget presented later this month makes adequate and wise investments in children and young adults and ensures – as the Governor said in today’s speech – that both the state and school districts are investing the most in the schools that serve the students with greatest needs.”