Students will suffer most from governor’s education plan

*Students will suffer most from governor's education plan *Charter schools not answer to underperfor
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Students will suffer most from governor’s education plan

I am a father of two young boys. I am a teacher and I am a coach. I have been in education for 13 years and I plan on being a dedicated professional until the very end. I am seriously concerned with the recent “education reform” that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing for our state. Under the proposed “reform,” our students will be exposed to competitive test taking with high stakes implications instead of nurturing and creative learning environments.

Gov. Cuomo is also attempting to privatize our public schools with the implementation of charter schools instead of properly funding our students. Make no doubt about it, the end game of this proposed “reform” is how much money can be made — the untapped resources of the educational “monopoly” that Gov. Cuomo has targeted.

This dedication to unproven and unaccountable educational methods may prove costly to the most precious population of our country while lining the pockets of the wealthiest. If this “reform” is approved, then when the dust settles, our students in our communities will be the ones that will suffer the most.

Mike Gennett

Amsterdam

Charter schools not answer to underperforming schools

Gov. Cuomo recently released his list of failing schools around New York state. He is touting that 800,000 children in New York state attend failing schools, and the system is not working. Instead of looking at the root of the problem, he has made a blanket statement that our public schools are failing, and charter schools are the answer.

Here are the truths.

The root of the problem is poverty. An in-depth look into where failing schools are located many times reveals a direct correlation between poverty and failing schools. Many times, students who come from difficult living conditions do not achieve as highly in school. Does this mean that they can’t learn? No. Instead of funding these schools appropriately and looking at the root of the problem, the governor has instead cut funding and is threatening to do it again.

The city of Schenectady is 12th in childhood poverty in the United States. Over the past five years, Schenectady schools have been stripped to the bone. Classes with over 30 students, programs cut, guidance counselors cut, security cut, and the list goes on. Instead of wrapping support around our neediest of children, the governor has instead cut the legs out from under them and guided them to failure. This was his goal all along. Failing schools mean that his hedge-fund-driven charter schools can sweep in and save the day.

Charter schools are publicly funded but privately run schools that do not have to follow the same standards as public schools. Unlike public schools, they can pick and choose who attends, and their expulsion rates are significantly higher than public schools. The best part about it, because they are private, they are not audited. Every year, public schools are forced to work a line item into their budgets so that they can subsidize any charter schools that exist within their district.

The leaders of these charter schools can do what they wish with our tax dollars, and they go unchecked by New York state. These same leaders, and their well-connected friends, contributed over $1.6 million to the governor’s campaign in the last election cycle.

Following the money to the governor’s education reforms is not very difficult.

As seen on recent television broadcasts, the charter schools in New York state seem to be doing just fine financially. They had enough money to shut down school for a day, bring 500 buses and 13,000 students to Albany to pit themselves as the answer to New York state’s failing public schools. Every participant was given a shirt and enjoyed a concert by Grammy Award-winning Ashanti.

The final straw is a proposal would allow a significant tax break to any person/corporation who contributes to a private or charter school. This would result in even more taxpayer money going to the wealthy contributors.

As taxpaying citizens of New York state, it is time to stand up to this scam. Reach out to your legislators and tell them to oppose the back-door voucher law that is being debated, and that your money should not be lining the pockets of Wall Street millionaires, but should be invested in the foundation of our society, education.

Michael Libertucci

Schenectady

Categories: Letters to the Editor

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