Research indicates that suspensions are ineffective and harmful and that they deepen academic inequities, especially for students of color and students with disabilities.
The Children’s Agenda offers this summary of provisions for children that were included in the New York state budget enacted in April 2022.
New York State has drafted a proposal that will be submitted to the US Department of Health and Human Services, requesting flexibility in how it uses Medicaid funds. Known as a “Medicaid waiver,” the proposal includes a request for $13.52 billion to be used over five years. The intent is to design innovative ways of using Medicaid funds that will promote health equity and address health disparities. Despite the fact this waiver is focused on equity, the investments in the current proposal are not aligned with the needs of the poorest and most diverse population of New Yorkers who rely on Medicaid: children.
New York State must devote more resources to strengthening the Early Intervention and Preschool Special Education systems, with a particular focus on eliminating inequities and expanding timely access to services.
There are many challenges plaguing the child care sector in New York State. I will summarize a few in this testimony, and share why my organization and the Empire State Campaign for Child Care believes a $5 billion investment is needed in the 2022-23 state budget.
Affordable, safe, high quality, and nurturing child care is essential for the immediate and future success of New York State. Our goal as a state should be to increase the number of families receiving this critical support, and we should fund services that help us achieve that goal. Readily available child care helps parents remain in the workforce, contributes to economic growth and expands the labor force for employers. It also ensures that children get off to the best possible start to life.
On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), a $1.9 billion stimulus plan designed to accelerate our nation’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. It contains a number of measures to provide direct relief to families, e.g. $1,400 stimulus checks to households, extended unemployment benefits and emergency housing assistance, and $5 billion for federal food aid. The pandemic recovery is addressed with $160 billion for vaccine distribution, supplies, emergency response, testing and the public health workforce.
A significant portion of ARPA funds are directed to children and families through provisions that include changes to federal tax credits and increased resources for child care, PreK-12 education, and closing the digital divide.
The Rochester City School District (RCSD) is facing unprecedented mid-year reductions in education aid from New York State. These cuts surpass the losses faced by any other school district in Monroe County, and are among the highest of any school district in New York State. The state’s current approach to budget reductions disproportionately targets districts with the highest needs, undermines the purpose of New York State aid to local school districts, and bolsters institutional racism in our community.