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Sunday, October 2, 2016

The march to Albany begins! Fighting for the rights of NYC students to receive a fair equitable education

Robert Jackson, lead plaintiff for the CFE lawsuit (credit: Richard Fife)
Today the Alliance for Quality Education, parents and advocates are walking to Albany to demand equitable education state aid for NYC schools and other underfunded districts.   At the kick-off rally at Tweed this morning hundreds of elected officials, advocates, and parents joined them, to give them support.

NYC Kids say to Cuomo: Pay your bills!
This month marks the 10-year anniversary of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity decision of the state's highest court, the Court of Appeals, which concluded that NYC students were denied their constitutional right to a sound basic education by an inequitable school aid formula.

 In 2007, the state began to comply with the court order with a more equitable foundation aid formula, but when the recession hit in 2009, the funding was frozen, ending the four-year phase-in.  The  promises to fully fund NYC and other districts have never been fulfilled, and we are still owed billions in additional aid, in a range estimated from three to five billion dollars more.

Even earlier, in 2003, Robert Jackson, then lead plaintiff of the CFE lawsuit, along with others, walked 150 miles to Albany for the Court of Appeals hearings.  Robert Jackson was there again today and is walking to Albany again.

Tish James, "A dream deferred is a dream denied"
This morning, he insisted that it was no time to give up, and pointed out that two out of the three city's highest officials were at the rally to show their support: Public Advocate Tish James and City Comptroller Scott Stringer.  But Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Farina were missing; in fact I saw no one there from NYC DOE.

As usual, many of the public officials were very eloquent. Public Advocate Tish James pointed out the justice delayed is justice denied.

Cathy Nolan speaks of overcrowded classrooms and schools.

Zakiyah Ansari of AQE

Comptroller Stringer prepares to march

Cathy Nolan, chair of the NY State Assembly Education Committee,  and Danny Dromm, chair of the NYC Council Education Committee,  denounced the overcrowded conditions and excessive class sizes in our schools that unfairly disadvantage NYC students, and Assemblymember Alicia Hyndman described how too many kids are still crammed into classes of 35.

A high school student from Make the Road by Walking spoke about insufficient counselors and extracurricular programs.   Zakiyah Ansari of AQE explained why the fight for our kids must continue.

If you'd like to join them, it's not too late!  This afternoon, on their way to Albany, Robert Jackson and AQE will join with other parents and allies at 3:30 PM at Juan Pablo Duarte School, PS 132, 185 Wadsworth Ave., in Washington Heights, where the CFE lawsuit began,  in 1993 -- more than 20 years ago.

The march for CFE funds begins from Class Size Matters on Vimeo.

1 comment:

Josh Karan said...

Neither Tish James nor Sott Stringer were willing to support Robert Jackson in his recent attempt to become the State Senator for northern Manhattan, the district where he started the Campaign For Fiscal Equity. James supported Marisol Alacantara, the election winner, who received $ 500,000 from the Rjepbuclican backing "Independent Democratic Caucus", paid for by it wealthy financiers, and Stringer supported Micah Lasher, who also raised $ 500,000 from wealthy donors, partly from a fund raiser organized at the home of Michael Bloomberg, Lasher's former boss. Tow people were thus able to rise from obscurity to defeat Mr. CFE. The Jackson campaign had a third of this amount of money. I personally asked both Alacantara (by hand delivered letter) and Lasher (by email) to attend this rally and march. Alacantara never responded. Lasher said he would be out of town for a family function. Neither seems to have offered to share their financiers bounty to help pay for lodging and food for the 20 dedicted walkers of 150 miles.

Josh Karan