Letter to the Editor: ‘Governor Cuomo Needs to Stop Experimenting and Start Fully and Fairly Funding Education”
In many ways, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s response to the COVID-19 crisis has been a model of reason and steady leadership.
Therefore, it was shocking and disappointing to hear him suggest earlier this week that the lesson he seems to have learned from the crisis about education is that we need to experiment and completely change our current system. His suggestion that the model of education with teachers and students in classrooms is somehow out of date because of “all the technology” we have.
As a father of children in our public schools, and as a husband of a professional educator, I find this way of thinking completely unacceptable. We have experimented on our kid’s education time and again with failed results. We have tried Common Core, we have tried Race to the Top, we tried No Child Left Behind, we have repeatedly tried different models because we think they will make improvements. The lesson he should have learned is that these experiments do not work. The model that works consistently is professional teachers teaching our children in classrooms focusing on meeting their learning needs, not some model of education imposed by the state or federal government. And this crisis has demonstrated that technology is not the answer – as many harried parents will tell you.
The lesson that should be learned is that proper life-long education only works when it is fully and fairly funded. For too long our schools and our children have had to deal with lack of funding and the lack of resources this brings. In Cortland, we have had to close 2 of our schools and completely restructure our school system because we continue to be severely under-funded by the state. Our community and our children have been disrupted because the state cannot or will not fund our education system.
Governor Cuomo is also blind to the fact that we don’t have all the technology he thinks we have in our communities. Across the state, there is insufficient broadband access to reach our homes and our children because the state continues to only look at large scale maps in order to pat themselves on the back that broadband across New York is a success. It is not. This crisis has shown us that we don’t have the resources to bring the internet to all our homes. And even if we did, schools are not funded sufficiently to make computers and the education equipment available to every child.
Our education system works when it is fully and fairly funded, and when our teachers are treated like the professionals they are. Our children learn so much more than facts in school - they learn to be part of a community. Our schools are so much more than buildings - they are the center of our communities. Governor Cuomo - fund our schools like they must be and watch our children flourish. We don't need another experiment.
This was published in a Letter to the Editor of the Ithaca Voice on 9 May 2020.