Citywide Budget Cuts
This January, the Mayor cut $100 million from the school
budget, forcing schools to cut programs and staff and stalling progress in
reducing class size and improving middle schools. For next year’s proposed
budget the Mayor has removed $324 million for education. This reduction in
spending came only a year after State officials promised to add $2.35 billion
for classroom operations over a period of four years and $11.2 billion for
school construction. Mayor Bloomberg had planned to allocate $13.1 billion for
schools construction and promised to add $2.2 billion for school operations.
This year the State school budget allocates $200 million less than promised.
These broken promises will disproportionately impact the
city’s immigrant students, who last year won a commitment to ensure increased
funding for English language learner programs. Fourteen percent of New York City students
are recent immigrants who are not yet proficient in English. In his new budget,
the Mayor has eliminated millions that were promised to pay for 113 new ESL
teaching positions this year and 226 positions next year.
Here at Make the Road New York we believe that the City and
the State can do better. Joining thousands of parents, students and teachers,
members of the City Council have argued that the Department of Education needs
to realign its spending priorities to cut back on consultants, no-bid contracts
and excessive testing and restore funding that was promised.
Middle Schools in Crisis
The budget cuts could not have come at a worse time for New York City’s middle
schools. According to Federal standardized tests, New York City eighth graders have not made
any significant progress in reading and writing since 2002. Moreover, although
the achievement gap between white students and black and Latino students has
been shrinking in the city’s elementary and high school grades, in the middle
grades the gap has been widening.
As part of the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice, Make
the Road New York has been at the forefront of a movement to improve the city’s
failing middle schools. In January of this year, the Coalition released a report that
found only three out of ten black and Latino eighth graders are reading and
writing at New York
State standards, compared
to six out of ten white students. Further, only one out of four eight graders
at ‘high-poverty’ schools meet these standards. The report also found a growing
gap in teacher quality between high- and low-poverty middle schools.
Mayor Bloomberg should implement policies that will improve
the quality of middle school education by providing expanded learning
opportunities, and academic and social support programs for students, while
ensuring teachers are well-qualified and supported.
Please tell your elected officials
to support educational opportunity.
I care about the future of New York and our children. Well-trained
teachers, diverse programming, and support for English language learners are
necessary to meet the needs of students in New York City. The achievement gap between
white students and black, Latino and low-income students is unacceptable. I
want you to develop a plan for improving middle schools. I do not support the
school budget cuts and I want you do everything in your power to restore the
funding that was promised.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg
New York, New York 10007