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STATEMENT

Gov. Cuomo Erases Black & Brown New Yorkers Fighting


for Educational Equity

ALBANY, N.Y. (June 1, 2020) —​ The public education advocacy organization Alliance for Quality
Education released the following statement in response to comments made by Governor Cuomo
​ n Sunday:
regarding education​ o

"Yesterday Governor Cuomo told a boldfaced lie to rewrite a version of history in which he is a lone
voice in New York speaking up for schools — a lie that advocates, parents, members of the
legislature and the press saw through immediately. At a moment when Black and Brown
communities across the nation are being met with violence from law enforcement in the struggle to
be seen, Governor Cuomo has casually erased the contributions of Black and Brown New Yorkers in
the fight for educational equity.

"Governor Cuomo’s policies have deepened inequality in public schools, and reinforced the
structures of educational racism in New York. Instead of taking responsibility, Governor Cuomo
gaslights the people of New York, accusing us of being silent on public education funding. He
completely erases years of work that Black, Brown and low-income parents have done to fight for
our children’s education. Every year, we literally bring this fight to his door at the State Capitol, and
every year, he refuses to listen. In fact, Cuomo’s ability to overlook parents, students and educators
is the perfect illustration of why we still don’t have equity in our schools, more than a decade after
the Campaign for Fiscal Equity court ruling.

"Our demands have been clear and consistent since Day 1 of Cuomo’s administration. If he listened
to parents, students and educators instead of his billionaire campaign donors, he would know what
New Yorkers have been demanding.

"The Governor is lamenting educational inequity before the ink dries on his $1.1 billion cut to the
highest need school districts in this year’s enacted budget. The fact is that he has been on a mission
to underfund high need public schools ever since his first year as Governor, when he cut over $1
billion from schools, while giving a tax break to millionaires. He glosses over the fact that the per
pupil funding gap, which he called “ludicrous and repugnant” yesterday, has grown nearly 25 percent
during his time in office. Our public school system relies on local property taxes, and it is the
responsibility of New York State — according to state law — to make up the shortfall to high need
districts with state aid. Yet Cuomo has fought against increasing state aid and fully funding New
York’s schools using its equitable funding formula, Foundation Aid.

"In 2019 during budget negotiations, both houses of the State Legislature proposed fully funding
Foundation Aid, but Governor Cuomo proposed pennies on the dollar for public education. He has
only to look at his own actions to answer his question of why it is, as he asked, that “the children of
the rich get a much better education than the children of the poor.” How do we justify this? How is it
fair? Only you, Governor Cuomo, can answer that. Tell us: how is it that you sleep at night knowing
you have denied Black, Brown and poor children access to a quality education? Every year parents,
students and educators from the poorest counties in New York travel to Albany to demand their fair
share of state aid for their schools.

"The fact is New York parents are empowered, and see right through the Governor’s lies. They know
that the Governor and his excuses are standing in the way of education justice and his policies are
propping up educational racism."

Below are the demands of parents across New York State as they fight for public schools:

● Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature must fully fund $4 billion that New
York State owes public schools in Foundation Aid
● The New York State Legislature must pass, and Governor Cuomo must enact, the Solutions,
Not Suspensions bill (S767b/A1981b)
● Fulfill the promise of statewide universal Pre-K