Voters in New York will decide in November whether the state should borrow $2 billion dollars for new technology including I-Pads in school classrooms. Teachers and school administrators who could benefit from the funds say they are supportive but want to see more details.
The bond act, as it reads on the November ballot, would provide access to classroom technology and high-speed internet connections , as well as offer funds to build more pre kindergarten classrooms, and replace the trailers that some overcrowded schools in New York City have been using to teach students.
New York’s school children made incremental progress in math scores but no gains in English tests in the second year of Common Core related exams. Education officials say overall, only around one third of students actually passed the tests.
Education funding advocates say they have a use for the recently announced $4.2 billion dollar state surplus. They say schools in New York, particularly the state’s poorest schools, could really use the money.
The Alliance for Quality Education’s Billy Easton says New York has fallen far behind in carrying out an order issued eight years ago form the state’s highest court saying schools, particularly the poorest districts, deserve billions of dollars more in state funding each year.
“This is money that is due to schools that has never been paid,” Easton said.
This summer marks the 50th anniversary of the Rochester Race Riots of 1964 when for three long days city residents along Joseph Avenue clashed with police. It got so bad that then-Governor Nelson Rockefeller had to call in the National Guard to help restore order. Over 1,000 people were arrested and hundreds were injured.
The President of the state’s teachers’ union says members aren’t yet ready to rescind a vote of no confidence in state Education Commissioner John King, despite improved relations in recent months.
New York State United Teachers President Karen Magee was elected in April amid deep dissatisfaction over education policy in New York. Magee ousted a three term incumbent, and teachers held a symbolic vote of no confidence in Education Commissioner John King, over what critics call a botched roll out of the new Common Core learning standards.