Albert Baldeo thanks our dedicated and exemplary Senator Hillary Clinton for tackling common problems such as health care, education, security, the economy, women's rights, jobs, our children and the environment. "You inspire us to public service," Baldeo told her.

 

"Class Size Reduction is only part of education problem," laments Albert Baldeo

As a working class person, community activist and concerned parent, I share the same sentiments expressed by Mr. Quintana, who bears an impressive track record in education. However, concerning the pivotal role education plays in the lives of our children, I urge the UFT, all parents in our community and education advocates, to direct the blame at the doorsteps of Governor Pataki and our dysfunctional elected officials in Albany.

We are calling for a total adherence to the Appellate Division Court order in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit, or hold them liable for contempt of the court's order. The court clearly affirmed that the operating needs of the New York City schools are at least $4.7 billion and that the capital needs of the City schools are over $9 billion, although it accepted a four-year phase-in. The court order clearly stated that "it is undisputed that the State has failed to appropriate an adequate amount of funding to meet its educational mandate as outlined in CFE II." 

We need more than the proverbial speck of sand to fill the ocean. Governor Pataki and the rest of the state senate must allocate adequate amount of funding so that city officials are not forced to set priorities where our children's education is concerned.  They need the whole pie. We demand sufficient funding to execute the entire plan for education reform. One of the greatest obligations of public office is to ensure that our kids receive a sound basic education. This is only possible if education reform is done harmoniously on a universal level, meaning that all aspects of education reform should happen together. Partial reform will incur more costs in the long run.

Reduction of class size has to be done simultaneously as implementation of new school construction plans, which has to work in conjunction with improving teacher quality, while at the same time, establishing accountability. The Senate Majority adamantly resisted including provisions in the final budget agreement similar to the Assembly budget bill, which would have fundamentally reformed school aid so that it is distributed based on student need. Clearly, this budget in no way addresses the operating aid requirements of the CFE court order, either for New York City or the rest of the state.

The recent state budget fails to provide our schools with the necessary resources. It is a major disappointment because it fails to reform state school aid. It does not add billions of dollars in new funding to meet the needs of high needs districts. It fails to include any multi-year plan to phase in the funding increases needed for all of our kids to succeed. It does not comply with the CFE court order that requires the state to add $4.7 to $5.6 billion in increased operating aid for New York City. It does not offer a statewide solution to the school-funding crisis that would apply the court order to school districts all over the state. Are our state senators above the law, so much so that they refuse to obey a court mandated order?

Other states have better educational programs in place than ours, although we pay more taxes. We, as parents of kids who reside in New York, may have to relocate and give up our jobs. So let us demand our just share from our political representatives.

Albert Baldeo, Esq

 

 

 
     
  AlbertBaldeo.Com 2005