In response to Governor Cuomo’s announcement allowing New York State school districts to reopen in the fall if the COVID-19 infection rate remains low, the public education advocacy organization Alliance for Quality Education released the following statement:

“The lack of leadership from state leaders and failure to provide adequate resources to schools at this time has forced an impossible decision on parents, students and educators, pitting their family’s health, their economic security and their children’s futures against each other,” said Jasmine Gripper, executive director, Alliance for Quality Education.

“School leaders are doing the best they can with the resources they have, but the lack of funding from New York State has created an unacceptable situation where districts are unable to adequately provide for students’ educational, health and safety needs.

“Schools serving predominantly Black, Brown and low-income students, which have been chronically underfunded by New York State, now face even greater challenges. Districts need additional funding in order to reduce class sizes, purchase technology and train educators in new teaching practices.”

“New York has not used the time since school buildings closed in March to make a more informed, thoughtful, or careful plan about how to reopen schools, nor to creatively address the critical issues that emerged in remote learning settings in the spring.

“If we had invested in remote learning at the outset, we would have been able to better prepare for more equitable access to remote education now, providing the necessary training and materials for families, students and educators to thrive. Every school district is planning for remote learning in some capacity, yet many families and children still lack devices, high speed internet, and essential services. With just a few weeks left until schools reopen, we are scrambling to resolve issues that we have been aware of for months.

“Without resources, New York’s most vulnerable students will lose out on the coming school year — a year of education, opportunity and development that we will never be able to replace. The New York State legislature must act now to raise taxes on the ultra rich to invest in our public schools. Failing to act now will set us back decades, baking the pandemic’s inequitable impacts into the fabric of our society, yet again failing to meet the needs of Black, Brown and low-income children.”

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