Saturday, July 11, 2015
It is a sad, but true fact, that the leaders of our great state have chosen to meet the needs of their billionaire cronies, like Dan Loeb, rather than those of our most precious assets—our children!
Millions and millions of dollars are being provided to charter schools, many of which are “for profit enterprises.” Who benefits from these profits? Is it the children? Is the taxpayers? No! Simply put, it is wealthiest of the wealthy who are profiting—those like Dan Loeb, who host $5,000 per plate fundraisers for New York lawmakers, like the one being held here this evening. Not only are the rich getting richer, but our public schools, and the children whom they serve, are suffering great harm—an irreparable harm.
Our founding fathers had a vision of a democratic nation wherein all people are equal. Abraham Lincoln asserted his belief, in the Gettysburg Address, that our government must be, “of the people, by the people, for the people.” There is no doubt in my mind that Lincoln meant ALL people, not only the rich and powerful. Not those who can afford to buy public policy.
It is said that we live in a democratic society. One definition of the word “democracy” is, “a state of society characterized by formal equality of rights and privileges.” One right and privilege that we have been afforded is that of a free and public education. Our New York State Constitution guarantees that all students in the state be provided the opportunity for a “sound basic education.” Additionally, it is the obligation of the state to provide adequate funding to support the public education system—an obligation which our elected officials have fallen terribly short of honoring.
While the state has handed down more and more costly mandates to public schools, the funding has decreased. Local districts are being asked to do more with less. While the ways in which individual districts address this crisis may vary, there is one strong commonality. Inadequate funding of public schools has had, and continues to have, a detrimental impact on our children. Class sizes have increased at an alarming rate. Support services for our children, both instructional and otherwise, have been cut causing our struggling students to fall further behind.
So-called “Education Reform” is nothing more than policy change being influenced by billionaires, like Dan Loeb, to help line their pockets while depriving our children what they need to receive an education to become productive and successful members of our society.
We, the people of New York, must make it perfectly clear to our elected officials that what they are doing is wrong and must stop! Stop putting profits ahead of children! Stop selling out our children to the highest bidder, or perhaps the highest contributor! In choosing to divert funds from our public schools into private charters, charters with limited accountability and who refuse to educate ALL children, these elected officials are clearly guilty of neglect and dereliction of duty. Billionaires, like Dan Loeb, cannot buy public policy. They must stop and we will stop them!