This Legislative Session: Big Investments in our Schools, Yet No Commitment to Meaningful, Measurable Results in New York

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By Ashara Baker, National Parents Union New York State Director


As the school year is coming to an end and families frantically scramble to make summer plans, I find myself deeply concerned about the state of education for students across New York State as our 2023 legislative session concludes. Our children’s futures are hanging in the balance, and they are at the mercy of silent leaders.

While I appreciate Governor Hochul’s leadership and historic investment in education funding, it is essential to acknowledge that funding alone cannot be the final step. We must also prioritize meaningful and measurable outcomes for our students. During this legislative session, I quickly learned that accounting for results has yet to be fully examined or met in the state around education. Families deserve transparency and accountability. We want to know HOW these historic investments are helping our kids better prepare for their future. 

In New York, the opportunities you have still very much depend on your zip code. As New York City takes steps to improve its district, under the leadership of Chancellor David Banks, our upstate schools are slow to catch up. We don’t have a robust network of high-quality school choices upstate, and our districts have not explicitly committed to implementing research-based strategies that we know will help our kids catch up like high-impact tutoring and teaching/learning using the science of reading and math. NYC families will benefit from early intervention strategies to address the literacy crisis, an area that has long been neglected. NYC schools have even launched a small initiative to provide high dosage tutoring to grades K-2 and 6-8.

Supporting all districts- upstate and downstate- requires state leadership. As lawmakers go back to their communities after the session and hear from parents in their districts who are having to pay for summer tutoring and who are frustrated with the progress that their student made this year, our hope is that they return next session with the political courage to ensure that kids are getting what they deserve from New York public schools. 

The reality is, while they attempt to muster the courage to hold schools and districts to high expectations, families are anxiously meeting with our children’s teachers and aids, we’re showing up to board meetings pleading for change, or we’re draining our savings trying to pay for private tutoring.

We must start really holding ourselves accountable for what defines success in growth for students. This is the only way to measure how effective curriculum and educational initiatives actually are.

With an unprecedented amount of funding going to our districts, you can be assured that National Parents Union will be supporting families as they link investments with outcomes. We must address the elephant in the room, our New York students are behind academically which will be consequential for the state. Just 37% of students in New York are proficient and meet grade-level expectations in math. Right now our NY 4th graders are TWO YEARS behind their peers in Massachusetts.  

Our kids cannot afford for us not to be invested in meaningful measurable results. As we approach this summer and back to school next year, it is my hope that our lawmakers come prepared next January with a stronger conviction that NY students and families need more from our schools. ◼