For Immediate Release: April 22nd, 2023
New Yorkers Demand Green Public Schools, Not Charter Schools
NYC-DSA organizers rallied on Earth Day with teachers, elected officials, parents, and supporters to demand leaders fund a sustainable future for public education in New York’s budget.
THE BRONX, NY—On April 22nd, NYC-DSA organizers joined teachers, parents, elected officials, and supporters in the Bronx for an Earth Day rally demanding a sustainable, livable future for New York’s children. Right now, Governor Hochul is fighting to destroy public education as we know it by expanding charter schools that leave our students behind, abuse teachers, and funnel public money to private hands. New Yorkers deserve better. We need a budget that taxes the rich, supports public education, and passes urgent climate legislation like the Build Public Renewables Act that will help our planet and our students thrive for generations to come.
Every student in New York deserves a high-quality education from well-supported union teachers in a healthy and safe environment. But conservatives have spent decades disinvesting from our public schools, siphoning public money to privately-run charters and attacking organized labor. They’ve pushed our education system into crisis. Families are right to demand better for their children. But the way to do that is by using our state’s immense wealth to invest in our public schools, not dismantling public education. This year’s budget is an opportunity to build the future our families truly deserve: with green public schools that address decades of environmental racism and help all students reach their full potential.
The charter school cap was meant to limit speculative and frequently failing private operations. Because when they fail, it’s not their private investors that lose — it’s us. Our students are displaced, teachers lose their jobs, and our public schools are drained of the little funding they have. Lifting the charter cap means doubling down on overcrowded buildings, anxious and exhausted teachers without union protections, worsening air quality, and classes held in run-down classrooms, closets, and hallways. But hedge fund billionaires like Dan Loeb, who is also a board member at Success Academy charter schools, stand to gain a windfall if Hochul succeeds in dismantling our public education system and funneling money to private charters that fail our students. Our students deserve better.
And while our public schools have been bled dry, generational environmental racism has burdened the Bronx with the highest asthma rates in the nation and 7 Superfund sites. In the borough with the highest number of charter schools, over half the population is rent-burdened, and median household income is just $38,085 compared to the citywide median of $60,762. It is long past time to address these injustices and invest in the public goods that uplift our communities. We can pass Good Cause Eviction and help families stay in their homes. We can pass free universal childcare and help families look after their children without going into debt. We can pass the Build Public Renewables Act and retrofit our school buildings with better air quality, lower our energy bills, create good union jobs, and guarantee our children a habitable climate. We can have all this and more when we finally make the wealthy pay what they owe.
The State budget is more than three weeks late as negotiations between Governor Hochul and Assembly and Senate leadership have stalled over Hochul’s attempt to ram through an unpopular right-wing agenda. Hochul has sought to send more public money to privately-run charter schools, lock up more New Yorkers in deadly jails without a trial, and hike tuition on CUNY students. The legislature must hold the line against these threats to working-class communities and make Governor Hochul listen to New Yorkers’ demands for a budget that taxes the rich to fund the vital public goods that will improve millions of lives and strengthen our state.
From the Bronx to the City Council, State legislature, and Congress, New Yorkers know the way to make New York “more affordable, more livable, and safer” is to put people over profit and make the rich pay what they owe to fund the public goods that help families thrive. We won’t stop fighting until we win a state that puts working-class families over corporate billionaires.
ABOUT NYC-DSA: New York City Democratic Socialists is the local chapter of Democratic Socialists of America—the largest socialist organization in the United States with over 85,000 members. NYC-DSA is run by its 5,000+ members and activists who are working together to build a democratic socialist organization in the five boroughs.