Thu, Jan 4, 2007
Education Advocates Launch "100 Days to Educational Excellence Campaign"
Effort seeks to secure education funding tied to Governor Spitzer's first budget
The Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) and the Alliance for Quality Education (AQE) launched the â€ś100 Days to Educational Excellence Campaignâ€ť at press conferences in five locations around the state including here in Albany. The goal of the â€ś100 Days to Educational Excellence Campaignâ€ť is to secure legislation to provide the education reforms and the full funding needed to provide every child the opportunity for educational excellence. The launch comes one day after Governor Spitzer's State of the State address.
â€śGovernor Spitzer said yesterday that the debate will no longer be about money but performance, and the goal will no longer be about adequacy but excellence. Weâ€™re here today to ensure that excellence is what we get for the public school children of this stateâ€”sufficient investment to fund the strategies that work and lead to student achievement,â€ť said CFE Executive Director Geri D. Palast.
Governor Eliot Spitzer has called for the additional investment of $8.5 billion in education statewide including $4 to $6 billion for New York City. While this amount would be phased in through a multi-year plan, it is anticipated that such a plan will be attached to this year's budget. Governor Spitzer has called for New York state to reduce class sizes; guarantee universal pre-kindergarten for all children; increase the supply of skilled teachers; produce strong, effective school principals; help students who are falling through the cracks by partnering with community-based organizations, expanding literacy programs and improving vocational education; and establishing new accountability provisions to ensure that funding improves educational achievement.â€ť
In Governor Spitzerâ€™s State of the State address he called for a â€śnew, transparent school funding formula that dramatically increases investment over the next four years throughout the state, targeting the investment where we need it the most.â€ť In addition Governor Spitzer called for smaller classes, more time in the classroom, after-school programs and access to state of the art Internet libraries. He also announced an initiative to make universal pre-kindergarten available to every four-year old.
â€śGovernor Spitzer has a tremendous mandate for change and he has clearly articulated an agenda to fix our schools. In the first 100 days, he will have the maximum power of his entire administration. By translating his vision into a concrete budget proposal to raise graduation rates, we can take a major step towards the goal of educational excellence,â€ť said Billy Easton, Executive Director, Alliance for Quality Education.
Participants came equipped with bunches of green helium balloons with the words "Day One Begins with Me" printed on them and photos of local students attached to the balloon ribbons. A central theme of the Spitzer administration is "Day One Everything Changes." While campaigning Eliot Spitzer applied the Day One theme to full education funding, smaller classes, pre-k, and other key parts of his education agenda. A set of the same balloons was delivered to Governor Spitzer at the State Capitol today as part of the five events held around the state.
In addition, AQE and CFE announced the launching of a pledge card campaign to sign up thousands of parents, students, teachers and community members to pledge to be Governor Spitzer's partners in securing the needed billions in education funding along with critical education policy reforms. The first batch of 500 such cards were delivered to the Governor Spitzer's office along with the balloons.
â€śThe billions in new funding Governor Spitzer has envisioned, combined with strong accountability, is what we need to ensure that all students have the skills they need to succeed in college and the 21st Century economy,â€ť said Easton. â€śThe educational strategies that are part of his agenda give New Yorkers a road map to excellence.â€ť
January 1, 2007 marked Day One of Governor Spitzerâ€™s administration. It also marked the first day of the â€ś100 Days for Educational Excellence Campaign.â€ť The â€śCampaignâ€ť culminates on Day 100, because that timeframe allows enough time for a state budget to be passed and signed into law.
The â€ś100 Days for Educational Excellence Campaignâ€ť will emphasize the needs of students across New York State; increase public awareness around the state of Eliot Spitzerâ€™s vision for excellence in education; and provide persistent pressure in support of Eliot Spitzerâ€™s school reform agenda.
The first $1.93 billion has already been ordered by the Court of Appeals in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit. But the court clearly set this figure as a "constitutional minimum or floor."
Supporters of the â€ś100 Days Campaignâ€ť have pledged to work with Governor Spitzer to ensure that his vision of educational excellence becomes a reality. They are pledging to support him in following through on his commitment to up to $8.5 billion in additional funding statewide, combined with strict accountability measures and a revised funding formula that is transparent, reliable and based on need, not politics.
The â€ś100 Days to Educational Excellence Campaignâ€ť will consist of events around the state, including news conferences, lobby days, rallies, petition drives, public hearings, media events, and more all designed to bring about fundamental reform by Day 100â€”April 10, 2007.
To get involved in â€ś100 Days to Educational Excellenceâ€ť call 518-432-5315 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, AQE and CFE can be found on the web at www.aqeny.org and 184.108.40.206.
Parents from across the state march on the Capitol in Albany to show support for CFE.
CFE v. State of New York
In 2006, after 13 years in the Courts, the New York State Court of Appeals affirmed the right of every public school student in New York to the opportunity for a sound basic education and the stateâ€™s responsibility to adequately fund this right, but deferred to the Governor and the Legislature to determine the appropriate amount. more >