CALL your NYS legislators today- yes, SUNDAY, in Albany

I’m so frustrated by this wheeling and dealing on the backs of children, I can’t even properly comment on this. I made my calls and I urge you to call your NYS legislators at their Albany offices today.

I don’t think most parents really understand the severe damage a bill like this will do to our already starved public schools.

It’s breathtakingly sad.

This is from Class Size Matters:

Dear folks:

PLEASE call your legislators in Albany today and urge them to vote NO on the state budget bill! On Monday, they will be voting on a budget that favors charter schools over public schools, provides them considerably more funds per student , bans charging charters rent or facility fees, and will provide any new or expanding charter free space in NYC public school buildings – or the city has to build or rent them facilities, out of taxpayer funds. NYC will be the ONLY place in the country where the district will be obligated to provide free space for ANY new or expanded charter in the future. The bill also contains very weak provisions on protecting student privacy.

1. On charters: this bill will encourage the forced corporate takeover of NYC public schools, where we already have the most overcrowded schools in the state. It will cause even more overcrowding in our already crammed schools, and make the city pay millions to house all new and expanded charters in the future. Our elementary and high schools are already 95% utilized – according to the DOE’s own figures, which even the Chancellor has admitted underestimates the actual level of overcrowding. More than half of our students are already in severely overcrowded buildings. Enrollment projections call for an increase of 70,000 more students over the next decade — and the only ones who will be guaranteed space going forward, to allow for smaller classes or to regain their art, music or science rooms, will be students enrolled in charters. This is the MOST onerous charter law in the nation and a huge unfunded mandate for NYC. For more on this see Diane Ravitch’s blog and the NYC public school parents blog.

2. On privacy: the bill is not much better. It appears to ban the state providing data to inBloom for the purposes of creating data dashboards, but not for any other purpose. And it has no mention of parental consent or opt out – except for requiring consent before vendors can give the information to other vendors, which they will still be allowed to do without consent via a huge loophole, if they call them their “authorized representatives.” It calls for a privacy officer, who will write a “parent bill of rights” under the direction of the Commissioner, who as far as we can tell, doesn’t believe that parents have any rights when it comes to protecting the privacy of their children. For a more detailed analysis, see our blog here.

The legislators are in Albany today, discussing this bill. Please call your Assemblymember (contact info here: http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/?sh=search) and your Senator (http://www.nysenate.gov/) today in Albany, and urge them to tell their leadership NOT to allow this bill to go forward. If it does come to the floor, they should vote NO.

Thanks for your support for the rights of NY public schoolchildren,

Leonie Haimson
Executive Director
Class Size Matters
124 Waverly Pl.
New York, NY 10011
212-674-7320

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