August 27th, 2010 7:18 pm ET
“The perfect storm of state disaster” is what state assemblyman Tom Alfano calls the governor’s proposed budget for schools. This is a very apt statement, whether you are a parent of a child in a school on Long Island or a teacher. This statement was made on December 19, 2008 in the Floral Dispatch, online edition. However, this statement still holds true today as well. Alfano also stated in his op-ed that these cuts would impact such areas in education as bigger class sizes, cuts in technology, and special education.
In order to decrease the gap in funding versus educational needs, New York attempted to win The Race to the Top. According to a report by Newsday, New York State went from also-ran to winner in the federal Race To The Top competition, officials said. New York is one of nine states splitting $3.3 billion. Timothy Kremer of the state School Boards Association states that “it will not replace the $1.4-billion cut in school aid that forced some school districts to lay off teachers, close schools and cut programs.”
Long Island schools are showing their disagreement with state cuts. One such district is in Wyandanch had fifty community residents on Saturday August 14, 2010 participate in a rally lad by local activists and the Long Island Progressive Coalition, a regional volunteer group. Ironically when the state raised passing standards on its tests last month, the number of failed students soared – in Wyandanch and island wide. So with the passing test score being increased as well as class sizes rising due to budget cuts, students will suffer. New York state is going to receive some financial help from the federal government of $26 billion. $607 million of that money – equivalent to more than 40 percent of state-aid cuts will go to New York. But Albany authorities have not yet announced how the money will be distributed to schools.
Even with all of these cuts, there is still a silver-lining to this cloud. People are still choosing to teach, and many of them return to the schools they went through. Michael Arnone returned to teach third grad in the same classroom he had third grade in Glen Cove. Sari Goldberg Alfano of Levittown returned to her elementary school as well to teach. These teachers and teachers like them still believe in our education system here in Long Island, and so should you.