Posts Tagged ‘students’

An Interns View: Unequal Education for All

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

By Rita Iosefson

It’s true. Not every school district on Long Island gets the same funding from New York State. As an elementary education major, my education and sociology classes have exposed me to the large funding gap between school districts. A study conducted at Columbia University Teachers College in 2009 demonstrated the alarming disparities among Long Island’s school districts. Researchers studied five different Long Island school districts, each representing a different demographic, and interviewed 75 school administrators, teachers, students, parents and school board members of these districts.

It is a known fact that resources are more easily diverted to wealthier districts, allowing these systems to offer a wider selection of courses and higher experienced teachers. Students in these districts have a greater chance of moving onto college than students in poorer districts. Poorer districts are challenged to attract better prepared educators and provide other enrichment opportunities.

I went to school in one of the more affluent school districts on Long Island. It is important that I don’t take for granted the opportunities I was given because of where I live. I was able to broadcast on my district funded radio station in high school and I participated in after school activities in middle school. My teachers encouraged me to take advanced classes that would earn me credit towards my bachelor’s degree. These privileges are unavailable to many students within a short driving distance of where I grew up. The Uniondale School District is about a twenty minute drive from my town. This district, along with other disadvantaged school districts on Long Island, has fewer teachers who have earned a master’s degree, as compared to wealthier districts, where 90% of teachers typically have earned a master’s degree.

As a future educator, I would be thankful to teach in a disadvantaged school district, to help bring its reputation up, in hopes of gaining funds from New York State. This is not the same for every aspiring educator, because of district reputations. High income schools, such as Locust Valley and Syosset, spend about $26,000 per student. Low income school districts, such as Roosevelt and Wyandanch, spend about $18,000 per student. This trend exists because lower funded school districts, on average, have to spend more on ESL programs than wealthier districts, leaving fewer funds available for other programs.

I have learned that many students are disadvantaged because their school district is unable to provide the “perks” that others can on our Island. I firmly support the Long Island Progressive Coalition in its efforts to ensure quality education for all of Long Island’s students.

Click here to read more on the study referenced in this post: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/news.htm?articleId=7175

 

Education supporters rally at Hofstra

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Close to 2,500 parents, teachers, students and supporters of public schools rallied at Hofstra University last night in a mass effort to save them from more than a billion dollars in proposed school spending cuts.

“No more cuts,” chanted the large crowd in protest of the $1.5 billion in education cuts Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has proposed. “They say cut back. We say fight back.”

The rally, organized by the Long Island Progressive Coalition, Alliance for Quality Education, and the main New York State teachers union, NYSUT, echoed a similar demonstration in Sachem last month and another protest Wednesday involving Sachem educators. Like those events, Thursday night’s rally drew an angry standing room only crowd that had sharp words for Cuomo.

Public school advocates at Hofstra’s physical education building blasted not extending the so-called millionaire’s tax and said a 2-percent tax cap proposed by Cuomo could seriously hurt public education.

“We need the governor and legislature to fund education in New York State — not cut it,” said Cynthia Di Miceli, a West Hempstead Board of Education member and a parent of two.

Earlier Thursday, lawmakers reported that an extension of the millionaires tax was dead. The tax on high-earning New Yorkers is set to expire Dec. 31. It applies to individuals with $200,000 or more in annual taxable income and families with $300,000 or more.

Cuomo’s tax cap proposal would limit any property-tax hikes to a maximum of 2 percent or the rate of inflation.

Protesters said the spending cuts could lead to classes of up to 40 children and major cuts in programs and services.

“I cannot believe we live in a state where our millionaires come before our kids,” said Danielle Asher, lead organizer of the Long Island Progressive Coalition.

Several school buses from both counties sat parked outside the rally.

Teresa Rodriguez, who teaches fourth grade at F.J. O’Neill Elementary School in Central Islip, carried a sign that read “The Buck Stops Here Go Get It From Wall Street.”

She has taught in the district for more than two decades. Central Islip school officials have said some 80 teachers could be let go this year.

“The fact is we are losing too many teachers,” Rodriguez said.

North Babylon parent Deborah LoSardo, also a first-grade teacher in West Babylon, brought her 6-year-old twin daughters to the rally.

Twin Peyton LoSardo carried a sign telling Cuomo “I am not your scapegoat.”

“I want them to be representative of what will be lost,” her mother said.