By Charlotte Young
Columbia University’s Teacher College education experts know what it takes to provide educational equity to all students in New York State—more money. The amount that the state spends on its students is not enough, they declare. The Campaign for Educational Equity, an institute of the college, plans to voice its concerns at a conference on Tuesday. The group recommends that an additional $4,750 must be spent annually for each low-income child in order to see measureable change in public school system.
According to the New York Times, New York state is already well ahead in investing in its students. The state spends about $18,126 per student, but the advocates recommend that the state’s support should extend to include services outside of the classroom. These additional services would provide for low-income students starting with prenatal care for the mother until high school graduation. Early child care and after-school and summer programs would also be provided for a total cost of $13,900 per child. The difference in total cost between the current spending on these services, and the proposed initiative amounts to $4,750.
Michael A. Rebell, the executive director of the Campaign for Educational Equity acknowledges that “this is not going the cheap way.”
“What we’re saying is, if we’re really serious about overcoming the achievement gap, students need these services to have a meaningful opportunity,” he told the NY Times.
While the campaign may make valid points, state officials must also take into consideration the delicate balance between investing in education and protecting the taxpayer’s dollars. The plan would have to be approved in the state budget, a difficult move in the midst of tight financial times.
Manhattan Democrat Sheldon Silver suggests that the first step should be to increase spending on poorer school districts rather than additional outside support services.
But Rebell, whose past efforts have helped to bring in billions of additional funding for poor school districts, will lay out his five-year plan on Tuesday. He plans to suggest that some of the money for the increased services could be secured through private sector bond sales. As the economy improves, the funds could then be switched back to the state budget.
Rebell’s plan for increased educational funds don’t stop with New York alone. Eventually, he hopes his plan will see an increase of $4,230 annually for every low-income student around the nation.