Lots of people today have gotten an email with a link to a video called “Will you fund our schools?”
The video—created by an outfit called Educate New York Now—makes the increasingly popular case that New York’s schools are really hurting financially and that the accumulated budget cuts of recent years will prevent many kids from getting a “sound, basic education” as required by the state constitution.
The video contends that Gov. Cuomo’s new budget plan, which would increase basic state aid to schools by 3 percent, is not good enough.
I can’t tell from the group’s website exactly who they are. But there are people in the video from the Campaign for Fiscal Equity —a group that won a landmark lawsuit calling for more equitable funding for NYC schools—and the Alliance for Quality Education—another group fighting for better public schools in urban areas and statewide.
In the video, Wendy Lecker, a lawyer for the CFE, says: “The state has defaulted on its constitutional obligation to fund our schools. And that’s having devastating consequences in our classrooms and for our children.”
Billy Easton, director of the AQE, says: “Students know firsthand what is going on in their classrooms and what things they’ve lost in their schools. They know what it means to lose a good teacher. They know what it means to see cuts in their library or guidance staff. They understand that it’s their future at stake.”
John Washington, a parent from Buffalo, says: “When I went to school, you had a band room full of music. Everybody was required to take band. After-school programs. I used to be able to go to tutoring sessions. Now it’s not available.”
The video ends with a cute little boy from Buffalo asking, “Will you fund our schools?”
The goal here is to get people to call their legislators and demand more state money for public education. It’s going to be a steep, uphill battle as Cuomo has been trying to deal with the state’s pretty dire budget woes for several years.
The answer to the question “Will you fund our schools?” might be another question: “How will we pay for it?”
Here is the video: