New York, NY – New York City Comptroller and mayoral candidate Scott Stringer today spotlighted the dangers of Andrew Yang’s educational voucher idea and his broader efforts to privatize public educational services that should be available to all students.
Stringer underscored that strengthening public education is critical to the city’s recovery from COVID and slammed Yang’s idea of portioning out vouchers to select parents for a range of needs that should be met for all students, calling his proposals half-baked and designed to undermine the public education system by giving paltry resources to a small group instead of investing in all of New York’s students.
“In New York City, we believe that every child has a right to a quality public education — and we will fight to protect that right. Whether it’s Betsy DeVos or Andrew Yang, New Yorkers won’t be sold a privatization ploy to take funding from public school students and heighten inequality,” said Comptroller Scott Stringer. “I’m proud to have gone to New York City public schools, just like my two boys do now, so I’m not surprised that a test-prep boss and the hedge fund billionaires supporting him want to privatize those very public schools. But I know that we can’t recover from this pandemic without providing our kids a world-class education, and I have the bold vision we need to transform our education system. So to New Yorkers, I say send this public school parent to City Hall, and I’ll be ready on day one to deliver the education all of our children deserve.”
“There are candidates for mayor trying to trick New Yorkers into sabotaging our public schools and the 1.1 million children that attend them,” said Michael Mulgrew, President of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT). “Now Andrew Yang is selling a plan to give a little money to a few kids instead of providing real resources to the system that serves any child in New York City. Well, New Yorkers aren’t buying it. This union stands with Scott Stringer, who is a champion for our students and teachers, and who will deliver the change we need to give every child the education they deserve.”
“CSA endorsed Scott Stringer for mayor because he has spent his career fighting for our schools, supporting leaders and administrators, and advocating for common-sense policies to improve education in New York City,” said Mark Cannizzaro, President of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators (CSA). “Scott knows that vouchers are not the way forward for our students, and we will work with him to strengthen public schools in every community so that all New York City children get the high-quality education they deserve.”
“A scheme to voucher money to a few families is a gimmick that substitutes limited resources for a selected few for real investment in public education. It’s a fake version of educational justice. New Yorkers see through it,” said Barbara Bowen, President of the Professional Staff Congress-CUNY (PSC-CUNY). “New York City can move forward from this pandemic only if we have a strong public education system that gives every child an opportunity to succeed. Scott Stringer believes in the public sector and in the common good, and he has the skills, the experience, and the courage to strengthen it to help all New Yorkers instead of undermining it with schemes that ultimately deepen inequality. He is the leader this city needs, and we’ll stand with him every step of the way to City Hall.”
Stringer is the public education candidate in the race for mayor — the first mayoral candidate in decades to earn the support of all three of the city’s public education unions: the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators (CSA), and the Professional Staff Congress-CUNY (PSC-CUNY).
Yang’s Privatization Scam
Andrew Yang’s proposal would use one-time federal stimulus funds to provide New York City families with a small portion of the funds needed to pay for educational services like afterschool, tutoring, and speech therapy. But Yang’s proposal wouldn’t go very far in the private market — certainly not far enough to adequately address educational inequity, learning gaps between communities, or learning loss from the pandemic.
Instead of investing the funds in year-round universal programming, the $1,000 each family would get based on current New York City rates would cover:
Moreover, Yang has suggested the vouchers could be used to pay for special education services such as speech therapy, which, unlike enrichment programs or tutoring, the Department of Education is required to provide for students who need it.
The total cost of Yang’s debit card scheme is estimated at $500 million — dollars that could instead be invested in strengthening public education by establishing the universal programming at the heart of Stringer’s education plan, including high-quality afterschool programming for all elementary and middle school students, free tutoring, and improved services for students with disabilities.
Stringer’s Sweeping Education Platform
Scott Stringer’s education agenda would transform our education system and guarantee all students access to the programs and services to which they are entitled. That means ensuring that all students who need them receive the legally mandated education services they are entitled to under their IEP — including speech therapy — each school year, addressing chronic shortages in special education, and expanding successful programs like ASD Nest and Horizon programs.
Stringer’s public education blueprint also calls for unprecedented investments in learning by:
Funneling federal dollars to a voucher program would be an ineffective and short-sighted use of limited one-time funding — leaving families with no way to continue accessing services they may come to rely on and leaving many other families with no additional support at all.
Stringer’s 27-point education blueprint to revolutionize public education in New York City and confront inequities across the system includes:
To read Stringer’s full 27-point plan to fundamentally transform public education in New York City, click here.
Video of the press conference available here.
Scott Stringer grew up in Washington Heights in the 1970s. He attended P.S. 152 on Nagle Avenue and I.S. 52 on Academy Street. He graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in Marble Hill and John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, a CUNY school.
Stringer was elected City Comptroller in 2013. Prior to serving as Comptroller, he was Manhattan Borough President from 2006 to 2013 and represented the Upper West Side in the New York State Assembly from 1992 to 2005. He and his wife, Elyse Buxbaum, live in Manhattan with their two children, Max and Miles.