We’ve got great schools in Northern New York and we’ve got the property taxes to show
for it. We have excellent colleges in Northern New York and our State’s number one
export is well-educated people looking for high-paying jobs somewhere else.
Studies show the average teacher in both public and non-public schools typically spend
between $500 to $1,000 out of their own pocket for classroom supplies. New York State
needs to provide a tax credit to help off set those out of pocket expenses for hard
working educators, regardless of whether they work in public or parochial school
What are we spending?
In the United States, per pupil education spending averaged $11,392 per student
annually, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. However, that average masked a wide
variation, ranging from $7,590 per pupil in Arizona to $21,206 in New York. That’s right,
NYS spends more of your tax money than any other state on our education – are we
getting the most bang for our buck? Nope. In fact, in the National Education
Association’s rankings, we barely make the top 20%.
We're not getting our money's worth in Northern New York.
The courts have made rulings that you can’t play politics with children’s education. They
even created a formula for state aid to districts so that politicians cannot give more to
one area and less to another in need. Yet in Albany, the legislature plays politics with
our kid’s education every year. In fact, schools in our area are still recovering from a
terrible budgetary scheme to send more money to New York City Schools back in 2009.
There were cuts in ‘09 and the legislature passed a budget which took critical aid away
from rural upstate school districts; and favored NYC. Numerous times, Assemblywoman
Addie Jenne has publicly expressed how damaging these cuts have been – then why
did she vote to put the cuts in the 2009 budget?
Educators are not Robots
For too long, we’ve treated students like widgets in an education factory. And, in more
recent history, we’ve been treating teachers more like robots in that factory – judged on
their efficiency to create standardized products, not on how well they care for and
educate the next generation of America.
APPR stands for Annual Professional Performance Review and it is the process by
which teachers and principals are evaluated in New York State. The system was
adopted with the support of Assemblywoman Addie Jenne, who voted for APPR
(Chapter 103 of the Laws of 2010). Under the law she supported, school districts and
BOCES are required to rate each teacher and principal “highly effective,” “effective,”
“developing,” or “ineffective” based, in part, on how their students perform on
Both the National Science Foundation and the American Statistical Association have
shown evidence that rating teachers based on “student growth scores” isn’t fair, if
flawed statistically, and doesn’t make better teachers. However, New York State drives
on with the same plan; expecting better results. Parents and educators are demanding
the APPR system be entirely repealed so our local school districts can design their own
evaluation plans, untied to student test scores. It’s time our current Assembly member
listen to those voices, stands up for children, and stops playing political games with their
education. Teachers aren’t robots, and students aren’t widgets.
Students Aren't Widgets
Students and parents should have the right to an education that serves their specific
needs. That means families should be able to obtain the kind of education that helps
their children achieve their fullest potential as unique individuals.
It also means that parents should have the right to choose what is best for their family
members. For many New Yorkers, that can mean access to a public school of their
choice. For other New Yorkers, it can also mean access to a school that provides the
kind of faith-based education that will help their children achieve their potential. For New
Yorkers who choose to educate their children in their home, it means access to services
that will help them achieve their goals in a nurturing environment. For New Yorkers
whose children need special education services, parents should be able to obtain
individualized services that will help them reach their full potential.
Job Training and Technical Education
For New Yorkers whose children seek career educational training instead of the
traditional academic classroom approach, students should be able to obtain certification
from Board of Cooperation Educational Services (BOCES) programs with local
diplomas from their home school district. The on-size-fits all diploma mentality needs to
end and we need to put Northern New Yorkers back to work with relevant work-force
training. BOCES technical courses need to be supported and students should be
encouraged to participate, removing the stigma. Let’s put the North Country back to
Little River Community School, located just outside Canton, provides alternative
educational services for k-12 students and their families, as well as assistance to home-
based students. Providing tax credits, as opposed to traditional tax deductions, would
provide parents and supporters encouragement to support alternative educational
Non-public, faith-based schools like Immaculate Heart Central School and, Faith
Fellowship in Watertown, St. Mary’s Grade School in Canton, St. James School in
Gouverneur, Trinity Catholic School in Massena have outstanding educational track
records. For over 100 years in Northern New York, parochial schools have provided
alternative educational opportunities for families who seek a faith-based alternative
education for their children. Providing tax credits to help encourage support for faith-
based education helps to provide these unique opportunities for parents who seek
alternatives to public schools.