My name is Jennifer Imhoff and I am finishing my last semester at LIU Post. My internship at LIPC has been an incredibly rewarding experience. I have had the opportunity to work with people who are passionate about what they do, and are willing to help educate others about the many issues affecting people living here on Long Island.
I am studying to become a social worker because I have an interest in helping people and making the world a better place, and an internship with the Long Island Progressive Coalition has exposed me to the many ways that I can help people. I have had the opportunity to attend local forums on education, attend rallies in Albany, Nassau, and Suffolk County. I have been able to speak to people that are directly affected by the 2% tax cap. The 2% tax cap does not take into consideration school districts that are facing increased enrollment, causing class sizes to grow in these districts. Unfortunately, it is the high- needs districts that benefit the most from state and local funding, but when there is less money to spend per pupil, all of the children are directly affected. The state is underfunding schools and programs are being cut because of the tax cap and state underfunding.
As a student, parent, and wife of a teacher I see the pressure that is being put on our students and teachers. It is not fair to use student’s test scores to evaluate teachers and this needs to change. The State also needs to fully fund our schools. Schools district can not maintain vital programs when state aid is cut and districts need to adhere to the 2% tax cap. The Board of Regents suggested $2 billion as the minimum needed in additional state aid, however they are only receiving $1.6 billion. I also learned that the way the funding is distributed very important. High-needs schools need to get more funding and have access to more resources so that students in those districts also receive a quality education. LIPC has given me the opportunity to grow both personally and professionally, and I am proud to have participated in the internship program here. I challenge you to get involved in the education campaign with the Long Island Progressive Coalition. Attend a meeting, make a call, or write a letter but take action to make a difference.