Jim Anderson is peddling the same tired arguments that have been disproven time and time again, and rejected by the courts. The fact is no governor in history has done more to ensure high quality education for all New Yorkers and curb the school to prison pipeline.
New York schools spend more per student than any other state, and under Gov. Andrew Cuomo, education aid has increased 36 percent since 2012, with a $1 billion increase this year - 72 percent of which went to schools with the highest need - bringing funding to a record total of $26.7 billion.
As the governor has repeatedly said, the question is not only about spending more, but examining how funding is allocated, which is why he included landmark legislation in this year’s budget to help ensure education equity by requiring school districts to report school level funding allocations to the public.
Gov. Cuomo has also invested record levels of funding in pre-K and community schools and launched the Excelsior Scholarship to provide tuition-free college for full time students at public colleges and universities. Combined with other state aid, hundreds of thousands of students from middle and low-income families will attend tuition-free.
At the same time, Gov. Cuomo has accomplished a long list of improvements to the criminal justice system. He led the effort to raise the age of criminal responsibility for minors and extended landmark reforms to ensure that indigent defendants are provided with adequate legal counsel. Since Gov. Cuomo took office, New York State has closed 24 prisons and juvenile detention centers and the prison population has decreased by more than 6,000. Further, the governor established the Work for Success Initiative which has helped over 18,000 formerly incarcerated people find work upon their release.
While the legislature failed to pass Gov. Cuomo’s proposals to eliminate cash bail and ensure a speedy trial, he continues the fight for these reforms.
We invite Jim Anderson and Citizen Action to stop their misdirected empty outrage and join Gov. Cuomo’s ongoing work to make New York a fairer and more just state for all.
Robert F. Mujica, Jr.