Education Gotham Gazette is an online publication covering New York policy and politics as well as news on public safety, transportation, education, finance and more. http://www.gothamgazette.com/education/130-opinion 2019-02-22T21:44:13+00:00 Webmaster webmaster@gothamgazette.com Time for the City to Pay Up 2019-02-22T05:00:00+00:00 2019-02-22T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/education/130-opinion/8299-time-for-the-city-to-pay-up Justin Brannan jbrannan@gg.com <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/just-bra-pu.jpg" alt="Justin Brannan" width="600" height="405" /></p> <p>Justin Brannan, the author (photo: @JustinBrannan)</p> <hr /> <p>Talk is cheap. The city needs to pay up.</p> <p>We have all been impacted by the important work of hundreds of human services providers across the city, many of which are deeply rooted in our communities. These vital non-profit organizations deliver services to New York City’s most vulnerable – the poor, the hungry, the homeless, our children, our grandparents. The clear and powerful impact of this sector makes it easy for politicians to praise the services these non-profits provide — but such talk is cheap if you don’t back it up with action.</p> <p>The uncomfortable truth is that these crucial organizations are very much at risk and in direct harm at the hands of the same government agencies and elected officials who praise them. How so?</p> <p>Human services contracts are registered late by city agencies 94% of the time, forcing organizations to make impossible decisions to bridge massive gaps in their funding. Ninety-four percent!</p> <p>In fact, most city contracts with non-profit human services providers are registered months or even years after these non-profits begin providing the services they cover. While this money is being held up by a broken and opaque contracting system, critical support for children, the elderly, those experiencing homelessness, people with disabilities, those living with HIV and AIDS, immigrants, and individuals coping with substance abuse and mental health challenges are put in direct risk.</p> <p>This is shocking and unacceptable.</p> <p>A domestic violence shelter cannot close for months while the city gets its act together. Senior centers can’t stop serving daily meals because of a funding gap due to a late payment from the city. Instead, non-profits are forced to front money, taking on costly loans and lines of credit with high rates of interest that are never reimbursed by the city agencies that held up their money up in the first place.</p> <p>I cannot believe this has somehow become the status quo. It must change.</p> <p>There are real human and financial consequences if a non-profit doesn’t start its services on time. Not to mention the corresponding challenges for those who work providing these crucial services.</p> <p>It is time for those responsible for this crisis to step up. Non-profits have borne the brunt of the city’s delays, putting the financial health of their organizations in jeopardy to ensure communities receive critical services. While no contract should ever force a provider to start delivering services before being paid, at the very least non-profits should not bear the cost! Those interest payments must be the responsibility of those at fault and should be paid, in full, by the city, a requirement that would provide a direct incentive to process contracts on time.</p> <p>It is also important that there is clear public access to data about which city agencies have the longest delays and why contracts are being held up. This information is vital not only to promote accountability but also to seek the needed remedies to this failure.</p> <p>Contracts and the procurement process may not be the sexiest topic in this city of headlines, but it has an exponentially reverberating effect on the city and how it functions. If we allow this to continue, these compounding late payments to the human services sector will only get worse and soon every neighborhood will suffer the consequences.</p> <p>As chair of the City Council’s Committee on Contracts, I have heard dozens upon dozens of devastating stories about how organizations are impacted by these unnecessary barriers built around them by the city. Talk is cheap. Action is long overdue – we must act now to address this crisis.</p> <p>***<br /> City Council Member Justin Brannan represents parts of southern Brooklyn. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/JustinBrannan" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@JustinBrannan</a>.</p> <p>

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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/just-bra-pu.jpg" alt="Justin Brannan" width="600" height="405" /></p> <p>Justin Brannan, the author (photo: @JustinBrannan)</p> <hr /> <p>Talk is cheap. The city needs to pay up.</p> <p>We have all been impacted by the important work of hundreds of human services providers across the city, many of which are deeply rooted in our communities. These vital non-profit organizations deliver services to New York City’s most vulnerable – the poor, the hungry, the homeless, our children, our grandparents. The clear and powerful impact of this sector makes it easy for politicians to praise the services these non-profits provide — but such talk is cheap if you don’t back it up with action.</p> <p>The uncomfortable truth is that these crucial organizations are very much at risk and in direct harm at the hands of the same government agencies and elected officials who praise them. How so?</p> <p>Human services contracts are registered late by city agencies 94% of the time, forcing organizations to make impossible decisions to bridge massive gaps in their funding. Ninety-four percent!</p> <p>In fact, most city contracts with non-profit human services providers are registered months or even years after these non-profits begin providing the services they cover. While this money is being held up by a broken and opaque contracting system, critical support for children, the elderly, those experiencing homelessness, people with disabilities, those living with HIV and AIDS, immigrants, and individuals coping with substance abuse and mental health challenges are put in direct risk.</p> <p>This is shocking and unacceptable.</p> <p>A domestic violence shelter cannot close for months while the city gets its act together. Senior centers can’t stop serving daily meals because of a funding gap due to a late payment from the city. Instead, non-profits are forced to front money, taking on costly loans and lines of credit with high rates of interest that are never reimbursed by the city agencies that held up their money up in the first place.</p> <p>I cannot believe this has somehow become the status quo. It must change.</p> <p>There are real human and financial consequences if a non-profit doesn’t start its services on time. Not to mention the corresponding challenges for those who work providing these crucial services.</p> <p>It is time for those responsible for this crisis to step up. Non-profits have borne the brunt of the city’s delays, putting the financial health of their organizations in jeopardy to ensure communities receive critical services. While no contract should ever force a provider to start delivering services before being paid, at the very least non-profits should not bear the cost! Those interest payments must be the responsibility of those at fault and should be paid, in full, by the city, a requirement that would provide a direct incentive to process contracts on time.</p> <p>It is also important that there is clear public access to data about which city agencies have the longest delays and why contracts are being held up. This information is vital not only to promote accountability but also to seek the needed remedies to this failure.</p> <p>Contracts and the procurement process may not be the sexiest topic in this city of headlines, but it has an exponentially reverberating effect on the city and how it functions. If we allow this to continue, these compounding late payments to the human services sector will only get worse and soon every neighborhood will suffer the consequences.</p> <p>As chair of the City Council’s Committee on Contracts, I have heard dozens upon dozens of devastating stories about how organizations are impacted by these unnecessary barriers built around them by the city. Talk is cheap. Action is long overdue – we must act now to address this crisis.</p> <p>***<br /> City Council Member Justin Brannan represents parts of southern Brooklyn. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/JustinBrannan" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@JustinBrannan</a>.</p> <p>

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After Amazon: Establishing Our Local Pipeline for Future Opportunities 2019-02-22T05:00:00+00:00 2019-02-22T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/education/130-opinion/8301-after-amazon-establishing-our-local-pipeline-for-future-opportunities Gail O. Mellow gomellow@gg.com <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/general_lagcc-600.jpg" alt="general lagcc 600" width="600" height="240" /></p> <p>(photo: LaGuardia Community College, CUNY)</p> <hr /> <p>With Amazon’s pronouncement to put the brakes on its plan to bring part of its new headquarters to Long Island City, it’s time to make lemonade out of the many lemons left in the wake.</p> <p>Amazon’s decision to locate here centered on our city’s ability to get the company the talent it needs to grow. It’s what every company, large and small, needs to thrive.</p> <p>When Amazon first announced it was coming, one of the first questions raised was: who will benefit? Would the 25,000 jobs help our local community, including the residents of Queensbridge Houses, the nation’s largest public housing complex, and LaGuardia Community College, where more than 70% of students come from households with incomes of less than $30,000? What kinds of jobs would be open to someone with just a high school diploma, an associate’s, a bachelor’s? Would it be New Yorkers who benefitted, or people recruited from elsewhere in the country and the world?</p> <p>In my engagement with City, State, and Amazon representatives, it became clear to me that New York (and conceivably many localities) needs a stronger, integrated system that links private and public spheres to educate future employees. Amazon’s proposed campus in Long Island City highlighted the need for that more robust, sustained development of talent pipelines in the fundamental field of tech, especially for people in low-income communities.</p> <p>The first step is more employers willing to establish long-term partnerships with local colleges and universities so there’s clear understanding of the technical, intellectual, and practical skills needed for job-openings. Without strong employer partnerships, we can’t be certain that our students will be job-ready upon graduation.</p> <p>We need more companies, especially tech companies, willing to invest in developing local talent by providing paid internships and mentorship opportunities for nontraditional and traditional students alike. We need more collaborations to create job-specific training programs, like one we <a href="http://www1.cuny.edu/mu/forum/2018/06/25/google-brings-it-support-professional-certificate-to-over-25-community-colleges-including-laguardia-community-college/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">have with Google</a> to provide training in IT support.</p> <p>Without far-reaching programs that connect students who are older, poor, or speak English less than well, tech employers will continue relying on the same private and elite-college networks for hiring.</p> <p>Fledgling progress was being made with Amazon to create pathways to jobs. At the end of January, Amazon announced a collaboration with LaGuardia Community College, CUNY, and SUNY to create a program to train people (with at least a high school diploma) for jobs in cloud computing.</p> <p>But more than programs, public officials, employers, and educators must convene and nurture the building of an ecosystem that connects the many assets a community can use to establish a collaborative approach. If a community can encircle a potential employee with support and education, and companies can create bona fide paths to employment, there is no limit to the amount of social mobility and community vibrancy that can be created.</p> <p>LaGuardia Community College knows how well employer-education partnerships can work when it all comes together. Queens resident <a href="https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.linkedin.com_in_matt-2Doconnor-2D1bb713b1_&amp;d=DwMFAg&amp;c=2tStSn3Yyb7CMXxZW9nuG-Sh-vz6mhnySBmFi7HdCsM&amp;r=TMs4SUHAqrArMuOm_JkK6JoOHC5SUcj2BuY3mTqJaoU&amp;m=q40-EeCs6mh8AjBMXnOMZ5Xp59l3Zy_d3sE9sVVYTog&amp;s=Anb7M_yg0tKkXmHRad5yME9JGXbnG92oNjUDdKxgTtI&amp;e=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Matt O’Connor</a> was working full-time packing boxes at a nearby delivery service when he came to LaGuardia to channel his passion for coding. He was offered internship opportunities that grounded his classroom work. Matt first interned at the tech accelerator <a href="https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.eranyc.com_&amp;d=DwMFAg&amp;c=2tStSn3Yyb7CMXxZW9nuG-Sh-vz6mhnySBmFi7HdCsM&amp;r=TMs4SUHAqrArMuOm_JkK6JoOHC5SUcj2BuY3mTqJaoU&amp;m=q40-EeCs6mh8AjBMXnOMZ5Xp59l3Zy_d3sE9sVVYTog&amp;s=NkbUv0I_agZiIAK3mIMMeFRd2QM-QUwHNFpP3lCfjZg&amp;e=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator</a>, where he worked with small tech start-ups. His next paid software development internship was at <a href="https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__pixelplace.io_&amp;d=DwMFAg&amp;c=2tStSn3Yyb7CMXxZW9nuG-Sh-vz6mhnySBmFi7HdCsM&amp;r=TMs4SUHAqrArMuOm_JkK6JoOHC5SUcj2BuY3mTqJaoU&amp;m=q40-EeCs6mh8AjBMXnOMZ5Xp59l3Zy_d3sE9sVVYTog&amp;s=wIHr8DxXgXXV8uEnvh5t2uoKgMJq1SrWgC4XtHCw1-0&amp;e=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Place Pixel</a>, a company that creates next-generation mapping experiences. It went so well that he was offered a full-time job with an equity share in the company. Matt said it felt miraculous when he was able to quit the package delivery company. Today, he’s a full-time software engineer at the company <a href="https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__go.sevenfifty.com_&amp;d=DwMFAg&amp;c=2tStSn3Yyb7CMXxZW9nuG-Sh-vz6mhnySBmFi7HdCsM&amp;r=TMs4SUHAqrArMuOm_JkK6JoOHC5SUcj2BuY3mTqJaoU&amp;m=q40-EeCs6mh8AjBMXnOMZ5Xp59l3Zy_d3sE9sVVYTog&amp;s=iwKTvhwRhik3HJN-GWORZLa2VBRY4XMqyFh2tn00-AU&amp;e=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">SevenFifty</a>.</p> <p>But with better and more targeted resources, we can do even more. We need elected officials to step up and increase the investment in our public colleges: to give us the resources to re-imagine what and how we teach. We need to be able to hire and support full-time faculty who can effectively teach complex material, particularly to a diverse student body. We need the funding to support the collaboration across organizational silos. It’s not just the funding for expanding holistic support like child care, and philanthropy to support transportation, emergency funds, and an on-campus food pantry. It’s also dedicated funding to link the path from the housing projects to training, and from training to college.</p> <p>Over the coming weeks and months, there will be much analysis of what went right or wrong with the Amazon deal. No matter who declares victory, what Long Island City is left with does little for the low-income and aspiring New Yorkers who remain on the sidelines. Let’s not lose a moment in getting our talent prepared for whatever happens next, whether it’s the next Amazon wanting to locate here or the start-up just beginning to get launched.</p> <p>Whether you are cheering or bemoaning the crumbling of the agreement, we can all agree those who’ve been historically locked out of job opportunities in the fastest growing industries need more pathways to these good, steady jobs that enable them to provide for themselves and their families.</p> <p>***<br /> Gail O. Mellow is President of LaGuardia Community College. On Twitter <a href="https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__twitter.com_LaGuardiaCC&amp;d=DwMFAg&amp;c=2tStSn3Yyb7CMXxZW9nuG-Sh-vz6mhnySBmFi7HdCsM&amp;r=TMs4SUHAqrArMuOm_JkK6JoOHC5SUcj2BuY3mTqJaoU&amp;m=q40-EeCs6mh8AjBMXnOMZ5Xp59l3Zy_d3sE9sVVYTog&amp;s=f4w7-3sqoaXDThK9XdUFY55Rrz0wEhE0So2Ihocoun8&amp;e=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@LaGuardiaCC</a>.</p> <p>

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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/general_lagcc-600.jpg" alt="general lagcc 600" width="600" height="240" /></p> <p>(photo: LaGuardia Community College, CUNY)</p> <hr /> <p>With Amazon’s pronouncement to put the brakes on its plan to bring part of its new headquarters to Long Island City, it’s time to make lemonade out of the many lemons left in the wake.</p> <p>Amazon’s decision to locate here centered on our city’s ability to get the company the talent it needs to grow. It’s what every company, large and small, needs to thrive.</p> <p>When Amazon first announced it was coming, one of the first questions raised was: who will benefit? Would the 25,000 jobs help our local community, including the residents of Queensbridge Houses, the nation’s largest public housing complex, and LaGuardia Community College, where more than 70% of students come from households with incomes of less than $30,000? What kinds of jobs would be open to someone with just a high school diploma, an associate’s, a bachelor’s? Would it be New Yorkers who benefitted, or people recruited from elsewhere in the country and the world?</p> <p>In my engagement with City, State, and Amazon representatives, it became clear to me that New York (and conceivably many localities) needs a stronger, integrated system that links private and public spheres to educate future employees. Amazon’s proposed campus in Long Island City highlighted the need for that more robust, sustained development of talent pipelines in the fundamental field of tech, especially for people in low-income communities.</p> <p>The first step is more employers willing to establish long-term partnerships with local colleges and universities so there’s clear understanding of the technical, intellectual, and practical skills needed for job-openings. Without strong employer partnerships, we can’t be certain that our students will be job-ready upon graduation.</p> <p>We need more companies, especially tech companies, willing to invest in developing local talent by providing paid internships and mentorship opportunities for nontraditional and traditional students alike. We need more collaborations to create job-specific training programs, like one we <a href="http://www1.cuny.edu/mu/forum/2018/06/25/google-brings-it-support-professional-certificate-to-over-25-community-colleges-including-laguardia-community-college/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">have with Google</a> to provide training in IT support.</p> <p>Without far-reaching programs that connect students who are older, poor, or speak English less than well, tech employers will continue relying on the same private and elite-college networks for hiring.</p> <p>Fledgling progress was being made with Amazon to create pathways to jobs. At the end of January, Amazon announced a collaboration with LaGuardia Community College, CUNY, and SUNY to create a program to train people (with at least a high school diploma) for jobs in cloud computing.</p> <p>But more than programs, public officials, employers, and educators must convene and nurture the building of an ecosystem that connects the many assets a community can use to establish a collaborative approach. If a community can encircle a potential employee with support and education, and companies can create bona fide paths to employment, there is no limit to the amount of social mobility and community vibrancy that can be created.</p> <p>LaGuardia Community College knows how well employer-education partnerships can work when it all comes together. Queens resident <a href="https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.linkedin.com_in_matt-2Doconnor-2D1bb713b1_&amp;d=DwMFAg&amp;c=2tStSn3Yyb7CMXxZW9nuG-Sh-vz6mhnySBmFi7HdCsM&amp;r=TMs4SUHAqrArMuOm_JkK6JoOHC5SUcj2BuY3mTqJaoU&amp;m=q40-EeCs6mh8AjBMXnOMZ5Xp59l3Zy_d3sE9sVVYTog&amp;s=Anb7M_yg0tKkXmHRad5yME9JGXbnG92oNjUDdKxgTtI&amp;e=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Matt O’Connor</a> was working full-time packing boxes at a nearby delivery service when he came to LaGuardia to channel his passion for coding. He was offered internship opportunities that grounded his classroom work. Matt first interned at the tech accelerator <a href="https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.eranyc.com_&amp;d=DwMFAg&amp;c=2tStSn3Yyb7CMXxZW9nuG-Sh-vz6mhnySBmFi7HdCsM&amp;r=TMs4SUHAqrArMuOm_JkK6JoOHC5SUcj2BuY3mTqJaoU&amp;m=q40-EeCs6mh8AjBMXnOMZ5Xp59l3Zy_d3sE9sVVYTog&amp;s=NkbUv0I_agZiIAK3mIMMeFRd2QM-QUwHNFpP3lCfjZg&amp;e=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator</a>, where he worked with small tech start-ups. His next paid software development internship was at <a href="https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__pixelplace.io_&amp;d=DwMFAg&amp;c=2tStSn3Yyb7CMXxZW9nuG-Sh-vz6mhnySBmFi7HdCsM&amp;r=TMs4SUHAqrArMuOm_JkK6JoOHC5SUcj2BuY3mTqJaoU&amp;m=q40-EeCs6mh8AjBMXnOMZ5Xp59l3Zy_d3sE9sVVYTog&amp;s=wIHr8DxXgXXV8uEnvh5t2uoKgMJq1SrWgC4XtHCw1-0&amp;e=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Place Pixel</a>, a company that creates next-generation mapping experiences. It went so well that he was offered a full-time job with an equity share in the company. Matt said it felt miraculous when he was able to quit the package delivery company. Today, he’s a full-time software engineer at the company <a href="https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__go.sevenfifty.com_&amp;d=DwMFAg&amp;c=2tStSn3Yyb7CMXxZW9nuG-Sh-vz6mhnySBmFi7HdCsM&amp;r=TMs4SUHAqrArMuOm_JkK6JoOHC5SUcj2BuY3mTqJaoU&amp;m=q40-EeCs6mh8AjBMXnOMZ5Xp59l3Zy_d3sE9sVVYTog&amp;s=iwKTvhwRhik3HJN-GWORZLa2VBRY4XMqyFh2tn00-AU&amp;e=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">SevenFifty</a>.</p> <p>But with better and more targeted resources, we can do even more. We need elected officials to step up and increase the investment in our public colleges: to give us the resources to re-imagine what and how we teach. We need to be able to hire and support full-time faculty who can effectively teach complex material, particularly to a diverse student body. We need the funding to support the collaboration across organizational silos. It’s not just the funding for expanding holistic support like child care, and philanthropy to support transportation, emergency funds, and an on-campus food pantry. It’s also dedicated funding to link the path from the housing projects to training, and from training to college.</p> <p>Over the coming weeks and months, there will be much analysis of what went right or wrong with the Amazon deal. No matter who declares victory, what Long Island City is left with does little for the low-income and aspiring New Yorkers who remain on the sidelines. Let’s not lose a moment in getting our talent prepared for whatever happens next, whether it’s the next Amazon wanting to locate here or the start-up just beginning to get launched.</p> <p>Whether you are cheering or bemoaning the crumbling of the agreement, we can all agree those who’ve been historically locked out of job opportunities in the fastest growing industries need more pathways to these good, steady jobs that enable them to provide for themselves and their families.</p> <p>***<br /> Gail O. Mellow is President of LaGuardia Community College. On Twitter <a href="https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__twitter.com_LaGuardiaCC&amp;d=DwMFAg&amp;c=2tStSn3Yyb7CMXxZW9nuG-Sh-vz6mhnySBmFi7HdCsM&amp;r=TMs4SUHAqrArMuOm_JkK6JoOHC5SUcj2BuY3mTqJaoU&amp;m=q40-EeCs6mh8AjBMXnOMZ5Xp59l3Zy_d3sE9sVVYTog&amp;s=f4w7-3sqoaXDThK9XdUFY55Rrz0wEhE0So2Ihocoun8&amp;e=" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@LaGuardiaCC</a>.</p> <p>

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The Right Way to Legalize Surrogacy in New York 2019-02-21T05:00:00+00:00 2019-02-21T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/education/130-opinion/8281-the-right-way-to-legalize-surrogacy-in-new-york Sital Kalantry skalantry@gg.com <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/up_2017_1014_054-294s23m.jpg" alt="up 2017 1014 054 294s23m" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>Sital Kalantry, the author (photo: Cornell Law School)</p> <hr /> <p>New York State is on the brink of replacing an outdated and prohibitive law that criminalizes the practice of compensated surrogacy, one of only two states that does so. Legislation to reverse the law has been introduced in both houses of the state Legislature, and Governor Cuomo has demonstrated support for it by including it in his Executive Budget.</p> <p>As a law professor who focuses on gender equity, <a href="https://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2685&amp;context=facpub" target="_blank" rel="noopener">I’ve taken great interest in issues related to surrogacy in the United States and abroad.</a> I’ve closely reviewed laws in multiple states as well as <a href="https://cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/blogs.cornell.edu/dist/2/7529/files/2017/05/Regulating-Markets-for-Gestational-Care-Comparative-Perspectives-on-Surrogacy-in-the-US-and-India-1ugukjx.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">internationally</a>, and I support New York’s legalization of surrogacy.</p> <p>When a woman chooses to support a couple or individual by serving as a gestational surrogate (where she is not genetically connected to the child because she did not contribute her egg), I believe she must have the autonomy to do so – provided she is protected by the law to ensure that any power imbalance between her, on the one hand, and the intended parents, surrogacy agencies and doctors, on the other hand, is mitigated.</p> <p>The proposal the New York Legislature is considering and that Governor Cuomo is advancing, the <a href="https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2017/a6959" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Child-Parent Security Act</a>, does protect surrogates in many ways. While the bill clarifies the parentage of all children born through third-party reproduction, here I focus only on how it legalizes and regulates gestational surrogacy arrangements.</p> <p>Protections provided by the bill include: giving the surrogate the sole right to make decisions regarding her own health or that of the fetus or embryo she is carrying; giving the surrogate the sole right to terminate the pregnancy; and ensuring that the surrogate is represented by her own legal counsel. These types of commonsense protections are critical to creating a successful and effective program. If the New York Legislature passed the Child-Parent Security Act, New York’s law would be more protective of women who choose to be surrogates than laws in many other states.</p> <p>Reexamining current law is long past due as technological advances and changes in acceptance of various family structures have made surrogacy much more commonplace. When lawmakers first implemented a ban on surrogacy in New York in 1992, they did so for several reasons that are less relevant today.</p> <p>For example, when the restrictive New York law was enacted, there were ethical concerns about what was then nascent medical treatment -- in vitro fertilization (IVF). Today, IVF is commonly-accepted as treatment for infertility and is also used in the gestational surrogacy process.</p> <p>Despite the ban, today New Yorkers do work with surrogates to build families. They are just required to employ surrogates living in other states. This results in legal challenges, risks, and costs for the intended parents, including confusion regarding what laws are applicable to the situation. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>It’s past time for New York to modernize its laws so that intended parents in New York can work with surrogates in their own state, with laws supporting and protecting both, and for surrogates who want to help intended parents start their family to be able to do so. Just last year New Jersey legalized gestational surrogacy moving beyond the restrictive approach to surrogacy that was articulated in its famous Baby Mcase in 1988. I wholeheartedly encourage the New York Legislature and Governor to approve this important measure this year.</p> <p>*** <br /> Sital Kalantry is a Clinical Professor of Law, Director of the <a href="https://kalantry.lawschool.cornell.edu/international-human-rights-policy-advocacy-clinic/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">International Human Rights Policy Advocacy Clinic</a>, and Co-Director of the <a href="https://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/MigrationandHumanRightsProgram/index.cfm" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Migration and Human Rights Program at Cornell Law School</a>. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/skalantry" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@skalantry</a>.</p> <p>

***
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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/up_2017_1014_054-294s23m.jpg" alt="up 2017 1014 054 294s23m" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>Sital Kalantry, the author (photo: Cornell Law School)</p> <hr /> <p>New York State is on the brink of replacing an outdated and prohibitive law that criminalizes the practice of compensated surrogacy, one of only two states that does so. Legislation to reverse the law has been introduced in both houses of the state Legislature, and Governor Cuomo has demonstrated support for it by including it in his Executive Budget.</p> <p>As a law professor who focuses on gender equity, <a href="https://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2685&amp;context=facpub" target="_blank" rel="noopener">I’ve taken great interest in issues related to surrogacy in the United States and abroad.</a> I’ve closely reviewed laws in multiple states as well as <a href="https://cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/blogs.cornell.edu/dist/2/7529/files/2017/05/Regulating-Markets-for-Gestational-Care-Comparative-Perspectives-on-Surrogacy-in-the-US-and-India-1ugukjx.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">internationally</a>, and I support New York’s legalization of surrogacy.</p> <p>When a woman chooses to support a couple or individual by serving as a gestational surrogate (where she is not genetically connected to the child because she did not contribute her egg), I believe she must have the autonomy to do so – provided she is protected by the law to ensure that any power imbalance between her, on the one hand, and the intended parents, surrogacy agencies and doctors, on the other hand, is mitigated.</p> <p>The proposal the New York Legislature is considering and that Governor Cuomo is advancing, the <a href="https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2017/a6959" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Child-Parent Security Act</a>, does protect surrogates in many ways. While the bill clarifies the parentage of all children born through third-party reproduction, here I focus only on how it legalizes and regulates gestational surrogacy arrangements.</p> <p>Protections provided by the bill include: giving the surrogate the sole right to make decisions regarding her own health or that of the fetus or embryo she is carrying; giving the surrogate the sole right to terminate the pregnancy; and ensuring that the surrogate is represented by her own legal counsel. These types of commonsense protections are critical to creating a successful and effective program. If the New York Legislature passed the Child-Parent Security Act, New York’s law would be more protective of women who choose to be surrogates than laws in many other states.</p> <p>Reexamining current law is long past due as technological advances and changes in acceptance of various family structures have made surrogacy much more commonplace. When lawmakers first implemented a ban on surrogacy in New York in 1992, they did so for several reasons that are less relevant today.</p> <p>For example, when the restrictive New York law was enacted, there were ethical concerns about what was then nascent medical treatment -- in vitro fertilization (IVF). Today, IVF is commonly-accepted as treatment for infertility and is also used in the gestational surrogacy process.</p> <p>Despite the ban, today New Yorkers do work with surrogates to build families. They are just required to employ surrogates living in other states. This results in legal challenges, risks, and costs for the intended parents, including confusion regarding what laws are applicable to the situation. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>It’s past time for New York to modernize its laws so that intended parents in New York can work with surrogates in their own state, with laws supporting and protecting both, and for surrogates who want to help intended parents start their family to be able to do so. Just last year New Jersey legalized gestational surrogacy moving beyond the restrictive approach to surrogacy that was articulated in its famous Baby Mcase in 1988. I wholeheartedly encourage the New York Legislature and Governor to approve this important measure this year.</p> <p>*** <br /> Sital Kalantry is a Clinical Professor of Law, Director of the <a href="https://kalantry.lawschool.cornell.edu/international-human-rights-policy-advocacy-clinic/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">International Human Rights Policy Advocacy Clinic</a>, and Co-Director of the <a href="https://www.lawschool.cornell.edu/MigrationandHumanRightsProgram/index.cfm" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Migration and Human Rights Program at Cornell Law School</a>. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/skalantry" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@skalantry</a>.</p> <p>

***
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Criminal Justice Reforms Will Not Make Enough Progress If We Don’t Also Change the Criminal Court 2019-02-21T05:00:00+00:00 2019-02-21T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/education/130-opinion/8291-criminal-justice-reforms-will-not-make-enough-progress-if-we-don-t-also-change-the-criminal-court Steven Zeidman sZeidman@ag.com <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/may-b28-reed.jpg" alt="may b28 reed" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>(photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)</p> <hr /> <p>While momentum is building for the New York State Legislature to pass long-overdue bills directed at bail, discovery, and speedy trial reforms that promise to make the Criminal Court fairer, will these pieces of legislation do more than make a brutal, racist machine slightly less brutal?</p> <p>New York’s insidious reliance on money bail is now widely condemned and proposals for reform abound. Some have suggested eliminating cash bail except for certain designated charges. In other words, pre-trial freedom should not depend on the size of your bank account, that is unless you are charged with certain crimes. Others want to eliminate cash bail but allow for preventive detention so that in certain situations a person could be remanded -- held without even the possibility of posting bail -- based on predictions of future dangerousness.</p> <p>Usually in the legislative mix is a risk assessment tool that most people believe has racial bias baked into its core no matter how hard proponents try to disaggregate. And in place of release on one’s own recognizance -- simply being released and told to return to court on another day -- is a menu of supervised release, GPS monitoring, and other types of surveillance that expand the net of governmental control and intrusion over those hauled into Criminal Court for charges minor and serious alike. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>New York’s ironically named discovery laws have rightfully been compared to a blindfold. Stories are legion of people forced to engage in plea bargaining and the crucial decision of whether to run the risk of a trial without knowing the evidence against them. Proposed reforms all dictate that the accused must have access to discovery much earlier in the process.</p> <p>However, the crisis of discovery is not limited to when documents are provided to the defense. It is also a matter of what documents are provided. Some jurisdictions allow for the defense to depose the prosecution’s witnesses. In New York, the accused gets reports filled out by police officers that merely summarize what witnesses had to say. Some jurisdictions require that the complaint that informs the accused of the nature of the charges must specify the facts that support the legality of the stop and arrest, as well as facts that detail evidence of guilt.</p> <p>In New York, the complaint is a template usually devoid of any details. One critical piece of discovery is the initial interview between prosecutor and arresting officer that takes place within hours of the arrest. In New York, the defense is entitled to the prosecutor’s de minimis notes from that interview. That interview should be taped, with the officer under oath, and provided to the defense at the accused’s initial appearance before a judge. &nbsp;</p> <p>Yet even if the new laws addressed all the concerns raised above, what needs to change is the Criminal Court itself, a heretofore intractable behemoth that grinds up everything and everyone in its path. Much as prison abolition has moved from the impossible to the imaginable, so, too, should talk of abolishing the present incarnation of the Criminal Court.</p> <p>The New York City Criminal Court has proven impervious to change. During the 1980s crack-cocaine epidemic, tens of thousands of drug-related arrests flooded the court. The court absorbed them all without as much as a hiccup. More recently, with Broken Windows, or quality-of-life, policing, the courts have been inundated with hundreds of thousands of misdemeanor cases. Again, the court took them all in without missing a beat. &nbsp;</p> <p>No matter what the input, or whatever legislative reforms are enacted, the Criminal Court continues to do exactly what it is designed to do -- push cases, get pleas, and move the calendar with scant concern about the constitutionality of the arrest or the sufficiency of the evidence of guilt. &nbsp;</p> <p>While no one can or should gainsay the importance of the proposed reforms to bail, discovery, and speedy trial, it is the Criminal Court itself that needs reform.</p> <p>The court’s method, or lack thereof, of adjudicating cases has not changed since its current incarnation in 1962. It has long been appropriately referred to as an assembly line marked by a lack of adversarial litigation, as people are processed in ways that more resemble the Department of Motor Vehicles than anyone’s conception of a court. &nbsp;</p> <p>All the discovery in the world may not stop judges from threatening the accused with a maximum sentence if they have the temerity to insist on their right to a trial, or prosecutors from making “one time only” plea offers, or revoking offers if the accused seeks to challenge the lawfulness of their arrest.</p> <p>It is about time for the Criminal Court to be evaluated on how well it enforces constitutional rights.</p> <p>The stop-and-frisk federal class action in Floyd v. City of New York exposed rampant search and seizure violations. How has the Criminal Court addressed that reality? The court in Floyd also found an equal protection violation as stop-and-frisk was disproportionately inflicted on people of color. Spend just a few hours in any of the city’s criminal courts and you will see the unabashed manifestation of similarly race-based policing as 95% of defendants are people of color. What is the Criminal Court response to that reality?</p> <p>There is as well the accused’s right to due process, to basic, fundamental fairness. Due process is hardly the phrase that comes to mind when you spend any time in the Criminal Court.</p> <p>To be clear, bail, discovery, and speedy trial laws must be reformed. Fewer people will be held in pretrial detention, fewer people will remain in the dark about the nature of the evidence they face, and fewer people will have an interminable wait for a trial. What remains to be seen is whether these changes will transform the Criminal Court from a guardian of assembly-line justice to an enforcer of constitutional rights.</p> <p>***<br /> Steven Zeidman is a professor of law at CUNY School of Law. On Twitter&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/SteveZeidman" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@SteveZeidman</a>.</p> <p>

***
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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/may-b28-reed.jpg" alt="may b28 reed" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>(photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)</p> <hr /> <p>While momentum is building for the New York State Legislature to pass long-overdue bills directed at bail, discovery, and speedy trial reforms that promise to make the Criminal Court fairer, will these pieces of legislation do more than make a brutal, racist machine slightly less brutal?</p> <p>New York’s insidious reliance on money bail is now widely condemned and proposals for reform abound. Some have suggested eliminating cash bail except for certain designated charges. In other words, pre-trial freedom should not depend on the size of your bank account, that is unless you are charged with certain crimes. Others want to eliminate cash bail but allow for preventive detention so that in certain situations a person could be remanded -- held without even the possibility of posting bail -- based on predictions of future dangerousness.</p> <p>Usually in the legislative mix is a risk assessment tool that most people believe has racial bias baked into its core no matter how hard proponents try to disaggregate. And in place of release on one’s own recognizance -- simply being released and told to return to court on another day -- is a menu of supervised release, GPS monitoring, and other types of surveillance that expand the net of governmental control and intrusion over those hauled into Criminal Court for charges minor and serious alike. &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>New York’s ironically named discovery laws have rightfully been compared to a blindfold. Stories are legion of people forced to engage in plea bargaining and the crucial decision of whether to run the risk of a trial without knowing the evidence against them. Proposed reforms all dictate that the accused must have access to discovery much earlier in the process.</p> <p>However, the crisis of discovery is not limited to when documents are provided to the defense. It is also a matter of what documents are provided. Some jurisdictions allow for the defense to depose the prosecution’s witnesses. In New York, the accused gets reports filled out by police officers that merely summarize what witnesses had to say. Some jurisdictions require that the complaint that informs the accused of the nature of the charges must specify the facts that support the legality of the stop and arrest, as well as facts that detail evidence of guilt.</p> <p>In New York, the complaint is a template usually devoid of any details. One critical piece of discovery is the initial interview between prosecutor and arresting officer that takes place within hours of the arrest. In New York, the defense is entitled to the prosecutor’s de minimis notes from that interview. That interview should be taped, with the officer under oath, and provided to the defense at the accused’s initial appearance before a judge. &nbsp;</p> <p>Yet even if the new laws addressed all the concerns raised above, what needs to change is the Criminal Court itself, a heretofore intractable behemoth that grinds up everything and everyone in its path. Much as prison abolition has moved from the impossible to the imaginable, so, too, should talk of abolishing the present incarnation of the Criminal Court.</p> <p>The New York City Criminal Court has proven impervious to change. During the 1980s crack-cocaine epidemic, tens of thousands of drug-related arrests flooded the court. The court absorbed them all without as much as a hiccup. More recently, with Broken Windows, or quality-of-life, policing, the courts have been inundated with hundreds of thousands of misdemeanor cases. Again, the court took them all in without missing a beat. &nbsp;</p> <p>No matter what the input, or whatever legislative reforms are enacted, the Criminal Court continues to do exactly what it is designed to do -- push cases, get pleas, and move the calendar with scant concern about the constitutionality of the arrest or the sufficiency of the evidence of guilt. &nbsp;</p> <p>While no one can or should gainsay the importance of the proposed reforms to bail, discovery, and speedy trial, it is the Criminal Court itself that needs reform.</p> <p>The court’s method, or lack thereof, of adjudicating cases has not changed since its current incarnation in 1962. It has long been appropriately referred to as an assembly line marked by a lack of adversarial litigation, as people are processed in ways that more resemble the Department of Motor Vehicles than anyone’s conception of a court. &nbsp;</p> <p>All the discovery in the world may not stop judges from threatening the accused with a maximum sentence if they have the temerity to insist on their right to a trial, or prosecutors from making “one time only” plea offers, or revoking offers if the accused seeks to challenge the lawfulness of their arrest.</p> <p>It is about time for the Criminal Court to be evaluated on how well it enforces constitutional rights.</p> <p>The stop-and-frisk federal class action in Floyd v. City of New York exposed rampant search and seizure violations. How has the Criminal Court addressed that reality? The court in Floyd also found an equal protection violation as stop-and-frisk was disproportionately inflicted on people of color. Spend just a few hours in any of the city’s criminal courts and you will see the unabashed manifestation of similarly race-based policing as 95% of defendants are people of color. What is the Criminal Court response to that reality?</p> <p>There is as well the accused’s right to due process, to basic, fundamental fairness. Due process is hardly the phrase that comes to mind when you spend any time in the Criminal Court.</p> <p>To be clear, bail, discovery, and speedy trial laws must be reformed. Fewer people will be held in pretrial detention, fewer people will remain in the dark about the nature of the evidence they face, and fewer people will have an interminable wait for a trial. What remains to be seen is whether these changes will transform the Criminal Court from a guardian of assembly-line justice to an enforcer of constitutional rights.</p> <p>***<br /> Steven Zeidman is a professor of law at CUNY School of Law. On Twitter&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/SteveZeidman" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@SteveZeidman</a>.</p> <p>

***
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A Fairer New York City Requires Salary Parity for the Early Childhood Workforce 2019-02-20T05:00:00+00:00 2019-02-20T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/education/130-opinion/8292-a-fairer-new-york-city-requires-salary-parity-for-the-early-childhood-workforce Jennifer March jmarch@gg.com <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/may-bdb-com.jpg" alt="may bdb com" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>(photo: Rob Bennett/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>At his State of the City address, Mayor de Blasio pointed to the expansion of universal prekindergarten for New York City four-year-olds and the expansion of 3-K as an integral part of his administration’s commitment to making New York City “the fairest big city in the country.”</p> <p>While listening to the mayor’s speech – and the attention he paid to the success of universal pre-K and the new 3-K expansion – child advocates and educators in the audience found ourselves wanting to shout out ‘Salary parity now!’</p> <p>To date, the cornerstone of the city’s ambitious early education efforts has been these extensions of public schooling to four- and three-year-olds. Enrollment in universal pre-K for four-year-olds is up over 350 percent since the mayor took office and 94 percent of universal pre-K classrooms are meeting nationally recognized standards for positive classroom conditions and child outcomes. The mayor pointed out in his address, “Pre-K and 3-K classrooms are jumpstarting children’s education and putting thousands of dollars in parents' pockets at the same time.”</p> <p>For the children and families who benefit from these programs, there is no doubt that such progress is meaningful.</p> <p>Yet, the ability to fully celebrate this important milestone is tarnished by the mayor’s failure to achieve salary fairness for early educators.</p> <p>Those of us who have been championing the mayor’s early education proposals for years, even prior to his days in the City Council, and who have forcefully advocated to help secure the state resources necessary to make universal pre-K a reality feel betrayed.</p> <p>We are forced to ask again and again, why hasn’t the de Blasio administration secured salary parity for the early childhood workforce? &nbsp;</p> <p>In 2014 the de Blasio administration launched universal prekindergarten and engaged over 1,000 community-based organizations (CBOs) with a history of providing high-quality child care and preschool services to the city’s poorest children, with the opportunity to offer pre-K. These organizations operate separately from K-12, public Department of Education (DOE) schools. Their workers are represented by different unions and some workers have no representation. Because these CBOs provide more than half of all UPK classrooms citywide, they have had and continue to play a critical role in the de Blasio administration’s most well-regarded achievement — one through which he seeks to acquire a national reputation.</p> <p>Importantly, the CBOs are not only responsible for the majority of universal pre-K classrooms in New York City, they also offer working parents programming for longer hours than their counterparts at DOE schools. The teachers and staff in CBOs often work into evenings and through summer months when most DOE classrooms are shuttered or teachers are on vacation. Yet, despite longer days and year-round work, CBO early educators earn far less than their DOE peers.</p> <p>CBO early educators that hold a bachelor’s degree earn a starting salary of just over $42,000 and those with a master’s degree earn a starting salary of nearly $48,000; compared to starting salaries of nearly $58,000 and just over $65,000 for prekindergarten teachers with bachelor’s or master’s degrees, respectively, at DOE schools based on an updated salary progression that goes into effect this month.</p> <p>Salary disparities widen over time as CBO early educators typically see their salaries rise by approximately $2,800 over the course of eight years; whereas DOE early educators see their annual pay rise by $20,000 during the same period. &nbsp;</p> <p>In the mayor’s recently-released 2020 preliminary budget, funding for various education initiatives would see increases – including a $25 million increase from last year to expand universal 3-K <strong>to two new districts</strong> for next school year. The preliminary budget also makes a $316 million investment in new collective bargaining costs related to United Federation of Teachers (UFT) teacher salaries in 2020, an investment that grows to $829 million annually in the out-years of the budget plan.</p> <p>There is no investment in the mayor’s budget in pay parity for the workforce in community-based organizations.</p> <p>Because compensation levels are so unequal, turnover rates are high in CBO pre-K and 3-K. The Day Care Council of New York reports that <a href="http://dccny7817.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/DCCNY_PolicyReport2016sm.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">half</a> of CBOs lost teachers to the DOE in the first year of universal pre-K alone. As turnover issues persist, many pre-K students in CBOs find their learning environments destabilized at some point during the year.</p> <p>So, one should ask: how can we in good conscience celebrate the success of universal pre-K and new 3-K expansion efforts while early educators in CBOs earn $15,000 to $35,000 less than their DOE peers?</p> <p>We also know that women of color are the primary victims of this profound inequity in compensation. There is no mistake that the achievement of salary parity, for them, would be life-altering. Just think what an increase of $15,000 to $35,000 in salary would mean to their pocketbooks and their own capacity to address their household needs.</p> <p>Furthermore, parity would bring program stability to CBOs and the early education system overall, benefitting children and parents who rely on these programs.</p> <p>Finally, in July of this year, DOE will acquire responsibility for all contracted early education programs, family day care, and child care centers, currently overseen by the Administration for Children’s Services. In preparation for that transition, the DOE is about to rebid the entire early education system this winter with the goal of having new contracts in place for infant and toddler care, Head Start, and universal prekindergarten and 3-K by 2020. Indeed, the transition has been touted by the DOE as an opportunity to build a seamless early education system for New York City’s children from birth to five years of age.</p> <p>Mayor de Blasio is seeking to solidify his place as a progressive rising star of national importance by pointing to New York City’s continued progress on early education as illustrative of how to make big cities fairer. It is critical that he brings true fairness to the city’s early education workforce and makes salary parity a reality. There is no greater opportunity to ensure that the city’s children are prepared for school success than by equitably compensating the workforce that supports and nurtures their growth.</p> <p>***<br /> Jennifer March, PhD., is the executive director of Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/jenmarchccc" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@JenMarchCCC</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/CCCNewYork" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@CCCNewYork</a>.</p> <p>

***
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</p>
<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/may-bdb-com.jpg" alt="may bdb com" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>(photo: Rob Bennett/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>At his State of the City address, Mayor de Blasio pointed to the expansion of universal prekindergarten for New York City four-year-olds and the expansion of 3-K as an integral part of his administration’s commitment to making New York City “the fairest big city in the country.”</p> <p>While listening to the mayor’s speech – and the attention he paid to the success of universal pre-K and the new 3-K expansion – child advocates and educators in the audience found ourselves wanting to shout out ‘Salary parity now!’</p> <p>To date, the cornerstone of the city’s ambitious early education efforts has been these extensions of public schooling to four- and three-year-olds. Enrollment in universal pre-K for four-year-olds is up over 350 percent since the mayor took office and 94 percent of universal pre-K classrooms are meeting nationally recognized standards for positive classroom conditions and child outcomes. The mayor pointed out in his address, “Pre-K and 3-K classrooms are jumpstarting children’s education and putting thousands of dollars in parents' pockets at the same time.”</p> <p>For the children and families who benefit from these programs, there is no doubt that such progress is meaningful.</p> <p>Yet, the ability to fully celebrate this important milestone is tarnished by the mayor’s failure to achieve salary fairness for early educators.</p> <p>Those of us who have been championing the mayor’s early education proposals for years, even prior to his days in the City Council, and who have forcefully advocated to help secure the state resources necessary to make universal pre-K a reality feel betrayed.</p> <p>We are forced to ask again and again, why hasn’t the de Blasio administration secured salary parity for the early childhood workforce? &nbsp;</p> <p>In 2014 the de Blasio administration launched universal prekindergarten and engaged over 1,000 community-based organizations (CBOs) with a history of providing high-quality child care and preschool services to the city’s poorest children, with the opportunity to offer pre-K. These organizations operate separately from K-12, public Department of Education (DOE) schools. Their workers are represented by different unions and some workers have no representation. Because these CBOs provide more than half of all UPK classrooms citywide, they have had and continue to play a critical role in the de Blasio administration’s most well-regarded achievement — one through which he seeks to acquire a national reputation.</p> <p>Importantly, the CBOs are not only responsible for the majority of universal pre-K classrooms in New York City, they also offer working parents programming for longer hours than their counterparts at DOE schools. The teachers and staff in CBOs often work into evenings and through summer months when most DOE classrooms are shuttered or teachers are on vacation. Yet, despite longer days and year-round work, CBO early educators earn far less than their DOE peers.</p> <p>CBO early educators that hold a bachelor’s degree earn a starting salary of just over $42,000 and those with a master’s degree earn a starting salary of nearly $48,000; compared to starting salaries of nearly $58,000 and just over $65,000 for prekindergarten teachers with bachelor’s or master’s degrees, respectively, at DOE schools based on an updated salary progression that goes into effect this month.</p> <p>Salary disparities widen over time as CBO early educators typically see their salaries rise by approximately $2,800 over the course of eight years; whereas DOE early educators see their annual pay rise by $20,000 during the same period. &nbsp;</p> <p>In the mayor’s recently-released 2020 preliminary budget, funding for various education initiatives would see increases – including a $25 million increase from last year to expand universal 3-K <strong>to two new districts</strong> for next school year. The preliminary budget also makes a $316 million investment in new collective bargaining costs related to United Federation of Teachers (UFT) teacher salaries in 2020, an investment that grows to $829 million annually in the out-years of the budget plan.</p> <p>There is no investment in the mayor’s budget in pay parity for the workforce in community-based organizations.</p> <p>Because compensation levels are so unequal, turnover rates are high in CBO pre-K and 3-K. The Day Care Council of New York reports that <a href="http://dccny7817.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/DCCNY_PolicyReport2016sm.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">half</a> of CBOs lost teachers to the DOE in the first year of universal pre-K alone. As turnover issues persist, many pre-K students in CBOs find their learning environments destabilized at some point during the year.</p> <p>So, one should ask: how can we in good conscience celebrate the success of universal pre-K and new 3-K expansion efforts while early educators in CBOs earn $15,000 to $35,000 less than their DOE peers?</p> <p>We also know that women of color are the primary victims of this profound inequity in compensation. There is no mistake that the achievement of salary parity, for them, would be life-altering. Just think what an increase of $15,000 to $35,000 in salary would mean to their pocketbooks and their own capacity to address their household needs.</p> <p>Furthermore, parity would bring program stability to CBOs and the early education system overall, benefitting children and parents who rely on these programs.</p> <p>Finally, in July of this year, DOE will acquire responsibility for all contracted early education programs, family day care, and child care centers, currently overseen by the Administration for Children’s Services. In preparation for that transition, the DOE is about to rebid the entire early education system this winter with the goal of having new contracts in place for infant and toddler care, Head Start, and universal prekindergarten and 3-K by 2020. Indeed, the transition has been touted by the DOE as an opportunity to build a seamless early education system for New York City’s children from birth to five years of age.</p> <p>Mayor de Blasio is seeking to solidify his place as a progressive rising star of national importance by pointing to New York City’s continued progress on early education as illustrative of how to make big cities fairer. It is critical that he brings true fairness to the city’s early education workforce and makes salary parity a reality. There is no greater opportunity to ensure that the city’s children are prepared for school success than by equitably compensating the workforce that supports and nurtures their growth.</p> <p>***<br /> Jennifer March, PhD., is the executive director of Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/jenmarchccc" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@JenMarchCCC</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/CCCNewYork" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@CCCNewYork</a>.</p> <p>

***
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To Close Achievement Gap, Give Legal Status to Undocumented Parents of Citizen Children 2019-02-19T05:00:00+00:00 2019-02-19T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/education/130-opinion/8282-to-close-achievement-gap-give-legal-status-to-undocumented-parents-of-citizen-children Robert Cherry rebecka@gothamgazette.com <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/rob-cher-mbdb.jpg" alt="rob cher mbdb" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>(Photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)</p> <hr /> <p>Latino Americans now number close to 60 million and a significant share of the 18 million children therein have persistent achievement shortcomings. Unfortunately, Latinos are seen primarily through the lens of competing immigration narratives.</p> <p>Conservatives claim that they threaten American society: criminal activities, overuse of social services, and adverse effects on native-born workers, particularly less-educated black men. By contrast, pro–immigration activists point to positive examples, particularly successful young people in the DACA program. They also downplay social service costs as simply a first-generation experience and adverse employment effects as isolated to a small group of workers.</p> <p>Each of these narratives has some truth but neither looks seriously at the academic obstacles Latino youth face.</p> <p>Latino-white fourth-grade achievement gaps are substantial. Latino children are twice as likely as white children to be below basic achievement levels and less than half as likely to attain the proficiency level or better. Moreover, these gaps are unchanged as children age and <a href="https://www.nber.org/papers/w22262.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">some studies</a> find that it is just as large for second- and third-generation Latino children.</p> <p>There are a host of factors that influence this achievement gap. One is the impact of illegal immigration. Piecing together two data sources (<a href="http://cmsny.org/publications/warren-usbornchildren/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a> and <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/259812/hispanic-population-of-the-us-by-sex-and-age/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>), I estimate that among Mexican- and Central-American U.S. immigrants, 45 percent of children are either undocumented or citizens but living in a household with at least one undocumented family member; and they represented 34 percent of all Latino children in the country. &nbsp;</p> <p>Given these mixed family situations, threats of deportation influence the Latino-white achievement gap. Researchers <a href="http://www.nber.org/papers/w25080" target="_blank" rel="noopener">estimate</a> that Latino school attendance declines by 10 percent when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has partnerships with local police, and these declines are concentrated among elementary school students. This may explain the high chronic <a href="https://static1.squarespace.com/static/53ee4f0be4b015b9c3690d84/t/5480ab38e4b0eecc3c188ca0/1417718584534/Better+Picture+of+Poverty_PA_FINAL.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">absentee rates</a> of elementary school children in the Bronx.</p> <p>By contrast, as a result of President Obama’s DACA program, high school graduation rates <a href="http://www.nber.org/papers/w24315" target="_blank" rel="noopener">increased</a> by 15 percent and college attendance by 25 percent.</p> <p>Undocumented parents are also in some instances less able to advocate for their children’s educational needs. Given the problems with the traditional public schools in many poor communities, black parents successfully shift their children to the charter school sector to a much greater degree than Latino parents. Whereas there are 78 percent <a href="http://publicschoolsk12.com/elementary-schools/ny/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">more</a> Latino than black students in New York City public schools, there are 40 percent <a href="http://www.nyccharterschools.org/sites/default/files/resources/factsheet-Achievement.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">more</a> black than Latino students in its charter schools. This and other similar issues may explain why children with undocumented parents <a href="https:\apa.org\pi\families\resources\newsletter\2016\11\undocumented-status.aspx" target="_blank">score lower</a> on assessment exams that those with authorized parents, even after controlling for a number of variables; and children gained more than one year of schooling when their parents were able to obtained legal status.</p> <p>There are of course other factors that influence the achievement gap. In 2017, the Latino poverty rate was 16 percent, double the white rate and only slightly below the black rate. In addition, English language deficiencies hinder educational achievement. An additional explanation is that despite their own limited economic circumstances, many Latinos focus on giving aid to their more impoverished family members in their home countries.</p> <p>As a result, remittances from the U.S. to Mexico and Central America dwarf those to other countries. In 2016, they <a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/01/23/migrants-from-latin-america-and-the-caribbean-sent-a-record-amount-of-money-to-their-home-countries-in-2016/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">were</a> at record levels. This focus puts added pressure on Latino youth, particularly boys, to gain employment as soon as possible, constraining educational attainment.</p> <p>In 2017, among those <a href="https://www.census.gov/data/tables/2017/demo/education-attainment/cps-detailed-tables.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">25 and older</a>, only 19.8 percent of Latino men compared to 43.2 percent of white men had at least an associate degree. Not surprisingly, the average hourly wage of Latino men was 32.5 percent below white men’s wage rate. Economic Policy Institute researchers Maria Mora and Alberto Davila <a href="https://www.epi.org/publication/the-hispanic-white-wage-gap-has-remained-wide-and-relatively-steady-examining-hispanic-white-gaps-in-wages-unemployment-labor-force-participation-and-education-by-gender-immigrant/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">reported</a> that including adjustments for differences in educational attainment and age, the wage gap declined to 14.9 percent. This remaining gap is virtually eliminated if we then <a href="https://www.nber.org/papers/w11240" target="_blank" rel="noopener">adjust</a> for lower Latino academic test scores that are linked to weaker schools attended and low-earning occupations entered.</p> <p>What can be done? Certainly we should seriously consider legalizing undocumented parents of citizen children.</p> <p>In addition, providing more occupational programs may be effective in responding to the employment goals of young men in Latino communities. As Kenneth Adams, the director of workforce development at Bronx Community College has <a href="https://nycfuture.org/research/from-dream-machine-to-job-machine" target="_blank" rel="noopener">documented</a>, given the high failure rate in Bronx community college academic programs, this may be an effective strategy.</p> <p>We must move efforts to reduce the Latino-white achievement gap to the forefront of policy discussions regardless of any fear that it would strengthen anti-immigrant forces.</p> <p>***<br /> Robert Cherry is Stern Professor at Brooklyn College and CUNY Graduate Center.</p> <p>

***
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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/rob-cher-mbdb.jpg" alt="rob cher mbdb" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>(Photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)</p> <hr /> <p>Latino Americans now number close to 60 million and a significant share of the 18 million children therein have persistent achievement shortcomings. Unfortunately, Latinos are seen primarily through the lens of competing immigration narratives.</p> <p>Conservatives claim that they threaten American society: criminal activities, overuse of social services, and adverse effects on native-born workers, particularly less-educated black men. By contrast, pro–immigration activists point to positive examples, particularly successful young people in the DACA program. They also downplay social service costs as simply a first-generation experience and adverse employment effects as isolated to a small group of workers.</p> <p>Each of these narratives has some truth but neither looks seriously at the academic obstacles Latino youth face.</p> <p>Latino-white fourth-grade achievement gaps are substantial. Latino children are twice as likely as white children to be below basic achievement levels and less than half as likely to attain the proficiency level or better. Moreover, these gaps are unchanged as children age and <a href="https://www.nber.org/papers/w22262.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">some studies</a> find that it is just as large for second- and third-generation Latino children.</p> <p>There are a host of factors that influence this achievement gap. One is the impact of illegal immigration. Piecing together two data sources (<a href="http://cmsny.org/publications/warren-usbornchildren/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a> and <a href="https://www.statista.com/statistics/259812/hispanic-population-of-the-us-by-sex-and-age/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>), I estimate that among Mexican- and Central-American U.S. immigrants, 45 percent of children are either undocumented or citizens but living in a household with at least one undocumented family member; and they represented 34 percent of all Latino children in the country. &nbsp;</p> <p>Given these mixed family situations, threats of deportation influence the Latino-white achievement gap. Researchers <a href="http://www.nber.org/papers/w25080" target="_blank" rel="noopener">estimate</a> that Latino school attendance declines by 10 percent when Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has partnerships with local police, and these declines are concentrated among elementary school students. This may explain the high chronic <a href="https://static1.squarespace.com/static/53ee4f0be4b015b9c3690d84/t/5480ab38e4b0eecc3c188ca0/1417718584534/Better+Picture+of+Poverty_PA_FINAL.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">absentee rates</a> of elementary school children in the Bronx.</p> <p>By contrast, as a result of President Obama’s DACA program, high school graduation rates <a href="http://www.nber.org/papers/w24315" target="_blank" rel="noopener">increased</a> by 15 percent and college attendance by 25 percent.</p> <p>Undocumented parents are also in some instances less able to advocate for their children’s educational needs. Given the problems with the traditional public schools in many poor communities, black parents successfully shift their children to the charter school sector to a much greater degree than Latino parents. Whereas there are 78 percent <a href="http://publicschoolsk12.com/elementary-schools/ny/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">more</a> Latino than black students in New York City public schools, there are 40 percent <a href="http://www.nyccharterschools.org/sites/default/files/resources/factsheet-Achievement.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">more</a> black than Latino students in its charter schools. This and other similar issues may explain why children with undocumented parents <a href="https:\apa.org\pi\families\resources\newsletter\2016\11\undocumented-status.aspx" target="_blank">score lower</a> on assessment exams that those with authorized parents, even after controlling for a number of variables; and children gained more than one year of schooling when their parents were able to obtained legal status.</p> <p>There are of course other factors that influence the achievement gap. In 2017, the Latino poverty rate was 16 percent, double the white rate and only slightly below the black rate. In addition, English language deficiencies hinder educational achievement. An additional explanation is that despite their own limited economic circumstances, many Latinos focus on giving aid to their more impoverished family members in their home countries.</p> <p>As a result, remittances from the U.S. to Mexico and Central America dwarf those to other countries. In 2016, they <a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/01/23/migrants-from-latin-america-and-the-caribbean-sent-a-record-amount-of-money-to-their-home-countries-in-2016/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">were</a> at record levels. This focus puts added pressure on Latino youth, particularly boys, to gain employment as soon as possible, constraining educational attainment.</p> <p>In 2017, among those <a href="https://www.census.gov/data/tables/2017/demo/education-attainment/cps-detailed-tables.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">25 and older</a>, only 19.8 percent of Latino men compared to 43.2 percent of white men had at least an associate degree. Not surprisingly, the average hourly wage of Latino men was 32.5 percent below white men’s wage rate. Economic Policy Institute researchers Maria Mora and Alberto Davila <a href="https://www.epi.org/publication/the-hispanic-white-wage-gap-has-remained-wide-and-relatively-steady-examining-hispanic-white-gaps-in-wages-unemployment-labor-force-participation-and-education-by-gender-immigrant/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">reported</a> that including adjustments for differences in educational attainment and age, the wage gap declined to 14.9 percent. This remaining gap is virtually eliminated if we then <a href="https://www.nber.org/papers/w11240" target="_blank" rel="noopener">adjust</a> for lower Latino academic test scores that are linked to weaker schools attended and low-earning occupations entered.</p> <p>What can be done? Certainly we should seriously consider legalizing undocumented parents of citizen children.</p> <p>In addition, providing more occupational programs may be effective in responding to the employment goals of young men in Latino communities. As Kenneth Adams, the director of workforce development at Bronx Community College has <a href="https://nycfuture.org/research/from-dream-machine-to-job-machine" target="_blank" rel="noopener">documented</a>, given the high failure rate in Bronx community college academic programs, this may be an effective strategy.</p> <p>We must move efforts to reduce the Latino-white achievement gap to the forefront of policy discussions regardless of any fear that it would strengthen anti-immigrant forces.</p> <p>***<br /> Robert Cherry is Stern Professor at Brooklyn College and CUNY Graduate Center.</p> <p>

***
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My Vision for the Role of Public Advocate: David Eisenbach 2019-02-15T05:00:00+00:00 2019-02-15T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/education/130-opinion/8284-my-vision-for-the-role-of-public-advocate-david-eisenbach David Eisenbach deisenbach@gg.com <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/david-eisenbach-5a-web.jpg" alt="david eisenbach 5a web" width="600" /></p> <p>(photo: Eisenbach for Public Advocate Campaign)</p> <hr /> <p>Right now, as communities across the city are organizing against displacement, we need a New York City Public Advocate who unifies and advocates for them in the struggle to save their homes and small businesses. I am not a politician who serves real estate developers and makes deals with corporations like Amazon that displace hard-working New Yorkers. I teach American history at Columbia University and running for Public Advocate on the platform to Fight Big Real Estate and Save Our Small Businesses.</p> <p>I will be a real Public Advocate, and I hope to have your vote on February 26.</p> <p>I have a long record of fighting for communities against Mayor-of-the-1% Bill de Blasio and the big developers he represents, like the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY). In Chinatown and the Lower East Side, I joined the fight to keep the residents of 83-85 Bowery in their homes. I pledged to stop the mega-towers in the Lower East Side waterfront. I have joined the battle to save Elizabeth Street Garden from being turned into a tower.</p> <p>In Inwood and East Harlem, I fought against de Blasio’s pro-developer rezoning plans. In Queens, I support organizations opposing the Amazon deal in Long Island City and bike lanes on Skillman Avenue in Sunnyside. In Brooklyn, I am working with Crown Heights community groups to stop the rezoning to build towers that could cast shadows over the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I marched with working people, tenants, small business owners and grassroots organizations from the Lower East Side to City Hall, demanding de Blasio:</p> <p>1. Stop city agencies from evicting tenants on behalf of landlords to deny the tenants’ rights of due process.</p> <p>2. Stop selling public land (including NYCHA) and end the 421-a tax exemption.</p> <p>3. End the city’s pro-developer rezonings, and instead pass community-led rezoning plans that put people first and protect workers, tenants, small businesses, and schools -- like the Chinatown Working Group (CWG) plan.</p> <p>I am the founder and president of Friends of Small Business Job Survival Act (SBJSA) a citywide coalition of small business activists dedicated to passing the historic bill. I have worked with business leaders and chambers of commerce who serve communities across the city to fight to pass this act. If passed, this act will give small business owners the right to 10-year leases and an arbitration process to negotiate lease renewal. SBJSA will stop the extortion of small business owners by landlords.</p> <p>The fight for our small businesses is a fight for our communities, and real affordability and diversity of New York. For 33 years REBNY successfully stopped the SBJSA but this year thanks to my leadership we are about to pass it. Passing SBJSA and defeating REBNY is the greatest David and Goliath story since Jane Jacobs stopped Robert Moses. Seeing communities standing up against big real estate, I believe that we can win this fight.</p> <p>It’s not a coincidence that New York City has record homelessness and displacement under a mayor mired in pay-to-play corruption scandals. De Blasio is a puppet of his real estate donors who have launched a ‘displacement-replacement‘ agenda: displace long-time residents and replace them with high-income individuals employed by big corporations like Amazon.</p> <p>In this special election on February 26, New Yorkers have an opportunity to elect a Public Advocate who will stand up to the mayor’s corruption and big real estate’s displacement agenda and fight for our communities. I am the candidate to do just that.</p> <p>***<br /> David Eisenbach is a history professor at Columbia University and a candidate for New York City Public Advocate. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Eisenbach4NY" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@Eisenbach4NY</a>.</p> <p>

***
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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/david-eisenbach-5a-web.jpg" alt="david eisenbach 5a web" width="600" /></p> <p>(photo: Eisenbach for Public Advocate Campaign)</p> <hr /> <p>Right now, as communities across the city are organizing against displacement, we need a New York City Public Advocate who unifies and advocates for them in the struggle to save their homes and small businesses. I am not a politician who serves real estate developers and makes deals with corporations like Amazon that displace hard-working New Yorkers. I teach American history at Columbia University and running for Public Advocate on the platform to Fight Big Real Estate and Save Our Small Businesses.</p> <p>I will be a real Public Advocate, and I hope to have your vote on February 26.</p> <p>I have a long record of fighting for communities against Mayor-of-the-1% Bill de Blasio and the big developers he represents, like the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY). In Chinatown and the Lower East Side, I joined the fight to keep the residents of 83-85 Bowery in their homes. I pledged to stop the mega-towers in the Lower East Side waterfront. I have joined the battle to save Elizabeth Street Garden from being turned into a tower.</p> <p>In Inwood and East Harlem, I fought against de Blasio’s pro-developer rezoning plans. In Queens, I support organizations opposing the Amazon deal in Long Island City and bike lanes on Skillman Avenue in Sunnyside. In Brooklyn, I am working with Crown Heights community groups to stop the rezoning to build towers that could cast shadows over the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I marched with working people, tenants, small business owners and grassroots organizations from the Lower East Side to City Hall, demanding de Blasio:</p> <p>1. Stop city agencies from evicting tenants on behalf of landlords to deny the tenants’ rights of due process.</p> <p>2. Stop selling public land (including NYCHA) and end the 421-a tax exemption.</p> <p>3. End the city’s pro-developer rezonings, and instead pass community-led rezoning plans that put people first and protect workers, tenants, small businesses, and schools -- like the Chinatown Working Group (CWG) plan.</p> <p>I am the founder and president of Friends of Small Business Job Survival Act (SBJSA) a citywide coalition of small business activists dedicated to passing the historic bill. I have worked with business leaders and chambers of commerce who serve communities across the city to fight to pass this act. If passed, this act will give small business owners the right to 10-year leases and an arbitration process to negotiate lease renewal. SBJSA will stop the extortion of small business owners by landlords.</p> <p>The fight for our small businesses is a fight for our communities, and real affordability and diversity of New York. For 33 years REBNY successfully stopped the SBJSA but this year thanks to my leadership we are about to pass it. Passing SBJSA and defeating REBNY is the greatest David and Goliath story since Jane Jacobs stopped Robert Moses. Seeing communities standing up against big real estate, I believe that we can win this fight.</p> <p>It’s not a coincidence that New York City has record homelessness and displacement under a mayor mired in pay-to-play corruption scandals. De Blasio is a puppet of his real estate donors who have launched a ‘displacement-replacement‘ agenda: displace long-time residents and replace them with high-income individuals employed by big corporations like Amazon.</p> <p>In this special election on February 26, New Yorkers have an opportunity to elect a Public Advocate who will stand up to the mayor’s corruption and big real estate’s displacement agenda and fight for our communities. I am the candidate to do just that.</p> <p>***<br /> David Eisenbach is a history professor at Columbia University and a candidate for New York City Public Advocate. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Eisenbach4NY" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@Eisenbach4NY</a>.</p> <p>

***
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How New York Can Become a Real Democracy: Re-Center Race as Legislative Progress Continues 2019-02-14T05:00:00+00:00 2019-02-14T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/education/130-opinion/8280-how-new-york-can-become-a-real-democracy-re-center-race-as-legislative-progress-continues Afua Atta-Mensah aamensah@gg.com <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/gov-cuomo-dna.jpg" alt="gov cuomo dna" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>(photo: Governor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>For decades, the phrase “three men in a room” has been used to capture how the leadership of New York state government (the governor, the state Assembly speaker and the state Senate majority leader) in Albany decides in back-room negotiations what legislation lives or dies. Finally, this year, state government can remake itself much closer to the image of true democracy. Leaders in the Assembly and Senate, Carl Heastie and Andrea Stewart-Cousins, are for the first time both African-American, and one is a woman.</p> <p>This is an undeniably exciting moment, but it is also a moment fraught with uncertainty and real questions about what it means to have a truly inclusive democracy, one that reflects a multiracial society and advances solutions to benefit all, not just a select few.</p> <p>While it is Democrats who are leading the charge on voting and campaign finance reforms – issues at the very heart of democracy – both parties have participated in, and benefited from, a system run on corporate money and machine politics. That system consists of a very small, very wealthy, and very white donor class that occupies the place that democracy should.</p> <p>Recently passed reforms such as early voting and changes to the “LLC loophole,” which limits the amount of money powerful individuals and companies can contribute to candidates, are game-changers for New York. Still, much of the hard work of disentangling the deep, white roots of money from politics remains, work that must be done in order to have a true democracy in New York. In particular, automatic voter registration and public financing of elections are essential to achieving this goal. But there’s more.</p> <p>In the public discourse on many issues, the flag of economic equality flies high. What has been less talked about is the systematic exclusion and oppression of communities of color as a direct result of our current system. Democracy reforms are not just about good governance, they are about giving people of color access to the political power from which they are all too often excluded. Race has become a footnote in a discussion when it should be the headline, for the simple reason that we cannot achieve a truly inclusive democracy if we do not start by acknowledging who has been excluded and why.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/ny-oped-fight-for-lower-rents-by-fixing-campaign-finance-20190114-story.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">recent column</a> on the housing crisis by State Senator Zellnor Myrie and Jonathan Westin, executive director of New York Communities for Change, centers the impact of money on the most basic and essential of goods – shelter. &nbsp;</p> <p>“For the real estate industry, these donations [to candidates] are a calculated investment to protect and expand their soaring profits,” they wrote in The Daily News. “Albany returns the favor by granting favorable tax breaks for developers and blocking meaningful action on the rent laws, which protect millions of tenants and families.”</p> <p>At Community Voices Heard, a member-led, multiracial organization working to secure racial, social, and economic justice for all New Yorkers, we know the consequences of this relationship are far too real. In 2018, we organized tenants in Ossining, New York, to enact the Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA). ETPA provided tenant protections for more than 2,000 residents. Just a year later, the mayor and village council have proposed repealing ETPA without offering an alternative proposal, a troubling development for the residents fighting against a profit-driven industry to stay in their homes. Without strong leadership in Albany to protect tenants, battles like these will become an endless war.</p> <p>Legislation to mitigate climate change tells a similar story. As is well known, the <a href="https://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.php?ind=E01" target="_blank" rel="noopener">fossil fuel industry ranks</a> among the top political campaign contributors and spends enormously on lobbying as well. The impact of a toxic environment is not being borne equally. According to <a href="https://www.thenation.com/article/race-best-predicts-whether-you-live-near-pollution/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Nation</a>, studies show that the majority of people living near hazardous waste sites are people of color. According to the same article, in cases where communities filed complaints with the Environmental Protection Agency alleging a violation of their civil rights, 95 percent of the claims were denied. In New York, one can see similar trends in the decades of negligence and mismanagement of public housing under the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) or the city’s response to Hurricane Sandy.</p> <p>In recognition of this, the <a href="https://nyassembly.gov/leg/?term=2017&amp;bn=A08270" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Climate and Community Protection Act</a>, re-introduced this session by Assemblymember Steven Englebright and Senator Todd Kaminsky, contains provisions aimed specifically at ensuring an <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2b4sxM265uZNUlDakpBdUFUY0VQWnlPdjYtdnViZFdBQU9R/view" target="_blank" rel="noopener">equitable transition</a> to renewable energy, including allocating 40 percent of funding to frontline and historically disadvantaged communities. This approach, which both acknowledges racial inequity and ensures that it informs policy-making, is an important step in the fight for an inclusive democracy and should serve as an example for advocates and lawmakers alike.</p> <p>Business as usual in Albany has often meant that lawmakers, lobbyists, experts, and advocates are quick to embrace a “race-neutral” dialogue when talking about the momentous issues at stake: voting, climate, housing, healthcare, jobs, and more. But it is worth remembering that these issues were core tenets of the Civil Rights Movement. The weeks ahead present both a challenge and an opportunity: to disrupt the normal discourse, to be explicit about racial inequities, and to fight for policies that can build a truly inclusive democracy.</p> <p>***<br /> Afua Atta-Mensah is Executive Director of Community Voices Heard. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/afuaattamensah" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@AfuaAttaMensah</a> &amp; <a href="https://twitter.com/cvhaction" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@CVHaction</a>.</p> <p>

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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/gov-cuomo-dna.jpg" alt="gov cuomo dna" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>(photo: Governor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>For decades, the phrase “three men in a room” has been used to capture how the leadership of New York state government (the governor, the state Assembly speaker and the state Senate majority leader) in Albany decides in back-room negotiations what legislation lives or dies. Finally, this year, state government can remake itself much closer to the image of true democracy. Leaders in the Assembly and Senate, Carl Heastie and Andrea Stewart-Cousins, are for the first time both African-American, and one is a woman.</p> <p>This is an undeniably exciting moment, but it is also a moment fraught with uncertainty and real questions about what it means to have a truly inclusive democracy, one that reflects a multiracial society and advances solutions to benefit all, not just a select few.</p> <p>While it is Democrats who are leading the charge on voting and campaign finance reforms – issues at the very heart of democracy – both parties have participated in, and benefited from, a system run on corporate money and machine politics. That system consists of a very small, very wealthy, and very white donor class that occupies the place that democracy should.</p> <p>Recently passed reforms such as early voting and changes to the “LLC loophole,” which limits the amount of money powerful individuals and companies can contribute to candidates, are game-changers for New York. Still, much of the hard work of disentangling the deep, white roots of money from politics remains, work that must be done in order to have a true democracy in New York. In particular, automatic voter registration and public financing of elections are essential to achieving this goal. But there’s more.</p> <p>In the public discourse on many issues, the flag of economic equality flies high. What has been less talked about is the systematic exclusion and oppression of communities of color as a direct result of our current system. Democracy reforms are not just about good governance, they are about giving people of color access to the political power from which they are all too often excluded. Race has become a footnote in a discussion when it should be the headline, for the simple reason that we cannot achieve a truly inclusive democracy if we do not start by acknowledging who has been excluded and why.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/ny-oped-fight-for-lower-rents-by-fixing-campaign-finance-20190114-story.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">recent column</a> on the housing crisis by State Senator Zellnor Myrie and Jonathan Westin, executive director of New York Communities for Change, centers the impact of money on the most basic and essential of goods – shelter. &nbsp;</p> <p>“For the real estate industry, these donations [to candidates] are a calculated investment to protect and expand their soaring profits,” they wrote in The Daily News. “Albany returns the favor by granting favorable tax breaks for developers and blocking meaningful action on the rent laws, which protect millions of tenants and families.”</p> <p>At Community Voices Heard, a member-led, multiracial organization working to secure racial, social, and economic justice for all New Yorkers, we know the consequences of this relationship are far too real. In 2018, we organized tenants in Ossining, New York, to enact the Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA). ETPA provided tenant protections for more than 2,000 residents. Just a year later, the mayor and village council have proposed repealing ETPA without offering an alternative proposal, a troubling development for the residents fighting against a profit-driven industry to stay in their homes. Without strong leadership in Albany to protect tenants, battles like these will become an endless war.</p> <p>Legislation to mitigate climate change tells a similar story. As is well known, the <a href="https://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.php?ind=E01" target="_blank" rel="noopener">fossil fuel industry ranks</a> among the top political campaign contributors and spends enormously on lobbying as well. The impact of a toxic environment is not being borne equally. According to <a href="https://www.thenation.com/article/race-best-predicts-whether-you-live-near-pollution/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Nation</a>, studies show that the majority of people living near hazardous waste sites are people of color. According to the same article, in cases where communities filed complaints with the Environmental Protection Agency alleging a violation of their civil rights, 95 percent of the claims were denied. In New York, one can see similar trends in the decades of negligence and mismanagement of public housing under the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) or the city’s response to Hurricane Sandy.</p> <p>In recognition of this, the <a href="https://nyassembly.gov/leg/?term=2017&amp;bn=A08270" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Climate and Community Protection Act</a>, re-introduced this session by Assemblymember Steven Englebright and Senator Todd Kaminsky, contains provisions aimed specifically at ensuring an <a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2b4sxM265uZNUlDakpBdUFUY0VQWnlPdjYtdnViZFdBQU9R/view" target="_blank" rel="noopener">equitable transition</a> to renewable energy, including allocating 40 percent of funding to frontline and historically disadvantaged communities. This approach, which both acknowledges racial inequity and ensures that it informs policy-making, is an important step in the fight for an inclusive democracy and should serve as an example for advocates and lawmakers alike.</p> <p>Business as usual in Albany has often meant that lawmakers, lobbyists, experts, and advocates are quick to embrace a “race-neutral” dialogue when talking about the momentous issues at stake: voting, climate, housing, healthcare, jobs, and more. But it is worth remembering that these issues were core tenets of the Civil Rights Movement. The weeks ahead present both a challenge and an opportunity: to disrupt the normal discourse, to be explicit about racial inequities, and to fight for policies that can build a truly inclusive democracy.</p> <p>***<br /> Afua Atta-Mensah is Executive Director of Community Voices Heard. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/afuaattamensah" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@AfuaAttaMensah</a> &amp; <a href="https://twitter.com/cvhaction" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@CVHaction</a>.</p> <p>

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Public Higher Education for New Yorkers Is Under Serious Threat 2019-02-13T05:00:00+00:00 2019-02-13T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/education/130-opinion/8276-public-higher-education-for-new-yorkers-is-under-serious-threat Sami Disu sdisu@gg.com <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/2017-medgar-evers-college.jpg" alt="2017 medgar evers college" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>(photo: CUNY Office of Communications)</p> <hr /> <p>New Yorkers should be proud that the City University of New York leads the nation in offering low-income students the opportunity to enter the middle class. CUNY is a powerful engine of social mobility. &nbsp;</p> <p>But that engine is at risk of breaking down unless our elected officials change course. Years of systemic underinvestment in educational opportunities for students of color – starting well before they reach university - means that students are increasingly unprepared for the global economy at the same time that their professors are stretched incredibly thin trying to make ends meet.</p> <p>My wife and I are both adjuncts – like the majority of professors who are teaching CUNY students - at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. We each make about $3,500 a course, the average wage for adjuncts at CUNY. When you factor in time for grading, student conferences, and planning, this compensation comes to not much more than minimum wage.</p> <p>We now have an 8-month old daughter and despite reducing our household expenses to the bare necessities and taking on side gigs (like driving for Uber), our total debt just keeps growing. We can’t afford childcare that is available at the college we teach at and so we are presently applying for subsidized childcare elsewhere. I am sharing these intimate details because these are the kinds of circumstances CUNY adjuncts are grappling with all around this expensive city.</p> <p>My wife and I – and all the other adjuncts we know – love teaching. We want to be there for our John Jay students, the next generation of police officers, emergency personnel, and legal professionals who will go on to provide public safety, justice, and aid for our beloved City.</p> <p>I routinely meet adjunct professors who are juggling four, five, and six courses not simply because they love teaching, but because they are trying to combine the wages of a number of low-paid courses in order to pay the rent. But others I speak to have given up and are leaving the college teaching profession at the first better-paid alternative.</p> <p>Other universities manage to pay their professors – both full-time and adjunct – a decent wage. But not CUNY.</p> <p>Adjuncts at the University of Connecticut start at $4,700 per course. At Rutgers in New Jersey the starting pay for an adjunct is $5,200, while at Penn State it is $6,100. Nearby private colleges pay adjuncts even more. At Fordham, they start at $7,000. At Barnard they will soon earn $10,000 per course.</p> <p>Our full-time CUNY colleagues are underpaid as well, with average salaries well below peer institutions like Pace, the University of Connecticut and Rutgers.</p> <p>All of this means that it’s harder to attract good teachers – right as CUNY is desperately trying to improve the faculty diversity at the University. And it means that teachers have less time to spend on their students – as they’re pushed to take on side jobs to make ends meet.</p> <p>Per-student state support for CUNY’s senior colleges has decreased 18% over the last 10 years when you adjust &nbsp;for inflation. In that time, tuition has skyrocketed.</p> <p>It would not take billions to make real change: $350 million, a drop in the bucket compared to the billions in subsidies our elected officials are prepared to offer Amazon, would ensure that CUNY remains accessible while continuing to reduce inequality and fight poverty. &nbsp;</p> <p>CUNY and its graduates have given so much to New York City. But if politicians continue to starve public higher education and the people who make it work, the CUNY economic miracle will not be there for future generations.</p> <p>***<br /> Sami Disu is an adjunct professor at CUNY’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice.</p> <p>

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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/2017-medgar-evers-college.jpg" alt="2017 medgar evers college" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>(photo: CUNY Office of Communications)</p> <hr /> <p>New Yorkers should be proud that the City University of New York leads the nation in offering low-income students the opportunity to enter the middle class. CUNY is a powerful engine of social mobility. &nbsp;</p> <p>But that engine is at risk of breaking down unless our elected officials change course. Years of systemic underinvestment in educational opportunities for students of color – starting well before they reach university - means that students are increasingly unprepared for the global economy at the same time that their professors are stretched incredibly thin trying to make ends meet.</p> <p>My wife and I are both adjuncts – like the majority of professors who are teaching CUNY students - at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. We each make about $3,500 a course, the average wage for adjuncts at CUNY. When you factor in time for grading, student conferences, and planning, this compensation comes to not much more than minimum wage.</p> <p>We now have an 8-month old daughter and despite reducing our household expenses to the bare necessities and taking on side gigs (like driving for Uber), our total debt just keeps growing. We can’t afford childcare that is available at the college we teach at and so we are presently applying for subsidized childcare elsewhere. I am sharing these intimate details because these are the kinds of circumstances CUNY adjuncts are grappling with all around this expensive city.</p> <p>My wife and I – and all the other adjuncts we know – love teaching. We want to be there for our John Jay students, the next generation of police officers, emergency personnel, and legal professionals who will go on to provide public safety, justice, and aid for our beloved City.</p> <p>I routinely meet adjunct professors who are juggling four, five, and six courses not simply because they love teaching, but because they are trying to combine the wages of a number of low-paid courses in order to pay the rent. But others I speak to have given up and are leaving the college teaching profession at the first better-paid alternative.</p> <p>Other universities manage to pay their professors – both full-time and adjunct – a decent wage. But not CUNY.</p> <p>Adjuncts at the University of Connecticut start at $4,700 per course. At Rutgers in New Jersey the starting pay for an adjunct is $5,200, while at Penn State it is $6,100. Nearby private colleges pay adjuncts even more. At Fordham, they start at $7,000. At Barnard they will soon earn $10,000 per course.</p> <p>Our full-time CUNY colleagues are underpaid as well, with average salaries well below peer institutions like Pace, the University of Connecticut and Rutgers.</p> <p>All of this means that it’s harder to attract good teachers – right as CUNY is desperately trying to improve the faculty diversity at the University. And it means that teachers have less time to spend on their students – as they’re pushed to take on side jobs to make ends meet.</p> <p>Per-student state support for CUNY’s senior colleges has decreased 18% over the last 10 years when you adjust &nbsp;for inflation. In that time, tuition has skyrocketed.</p> <p>It would not take billions to make real change: $350 million, a drop in the bucket compared to the billions in subsidies our elected officials are prepared to offer Amazon, would ensure that CUNY remains accessible while continuing to reduce inequality and fight poverty. &nbsp;</p> <p>CUNY and its graduates have given so much to New York City. But if politicians continue to starve public higher education and the people who make it work, the CUNY economic miracle will not be there for future generations.</p> <p>***<br /> Sami Disu is an adjunct professor at CUNY’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice.</p> <p>

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Creating a Single-Payer Health Care System That Works for All New Yorkers 2019-02-11T05:00:00+00:00 2019-02-11T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/education/130-opinion/8273-creating-a-single-payer-health-care-system-that-works-for-all-new-yorkers Gustavo Rivera & Karla Lawrence mauthors@gothamgazette.com <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/32965544398_52ab5dc21e_z.jpg" alt="health care is a right" width="600" height="401" /></p> <p>(photo:&nbsp;Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>In November, New Yorkers voted for a united government in Albany with a resounding directive: fix our broken healthcare system. Those election results are directly linked to the financial strain New Yorkers are facing as they struggle to choose between paying for their medication, premiums, long-term care, and basic needs, such as food or housing.</p> <p>The high costs of healthcare in our state have devastated hundreds of thousands of New York families by bankrupting those who are underinsured or forcing them to forgo treatment due to the financial burden it usually causes. According to the Campaign for New York Health, approximately 1 million New Yorkers still do not have health insurance; 20,000 New Yorkers have died due to their lack of coverage in the last ten years; and millions more would be bankrupt if faced with a medical emergency under their current health care plan.</p> <p>The New York Health Act (NYHA) is the only option on the table that would provide comprehensive healthcare coverage to all New Yorkers. It would extend coverage to those that currently have no access while providing quality and comprehensive care to New Yorkers who have been traditionally underinsured.</p> <p>This year, we are going one step further. We are introducing a version of the NYHA that aims to close an additional gap in our healthcare system by integrating long-term care coverage into the legislation. This shift in policy will address our state’s long-term care crisis and meet the healthcare needs of seniors, people with disabilities, as well as countless family caregivers, who are primarily women, for generations to come.</p> <p>The benefits of including long-term care in the NYHA will not only be felt by those who will now be able to afford assisted living, nursing home care, or home health care, but it will also have a rippling effect on our economy. In the Northwest Bronx, where we both live and work, thousands of home health aides, care workers, and unpaid caregivers have to withstand low wages, few benefits, and not enough investment in training and retention services. The current system is financially debilitating to families, those who require care, and the workforce that is tasked with administering care, all of whom are predominantly women struggling to provide for their loved ones. For instance, nationally, Latinx family caregivers spend 44% of their annual income providing caregiving services, while African-American family caregivers spend 34% of their income.</p> <p>A healthcare system that guarantees long-term care coverage would help ease the financial burden of thousands of families across our state while dramatically improving the system for those who receive and provide care. According to a study recently released by the RAND Corporation, even with the addition of long-term care, the NYHA would cost less than what is being spent under the current healthcare system. It is simply the most fiscally responsible step to take.</p> <p>The majority of New Yorkers have spoken loud and clear. They are demanding a healthcare system that works for them and not for the most powerful corporations. This new version of the NYHA and our new leadership in Albany bring us one-step closer to making healthcare a right and not a privilege for all New Yorkers.</p> <p>***<br />State Senator Gustavo Rivera is the Senate sponsor of the New York Health Act. Karla Lawrence is a direct care worker specializing in gerontology and long-term care; she is a member of 1199 SEIU and the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and a leader in the New York Caring Majority.</p> <p>

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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2018/podcast18/32965544398_52ab5dc21e_z.jpg" alt="health care is a right" width="600" height="401" /></p> <p>(photo:&nbsp;Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)</p> <hr /> <p>In November, New Yorkers voted for a united government in Albany with a resounding directive: fix our broken healthcare system. Those election results are directly linked to the financial strain New Yorkers are facing as they struggle to choose between paying for their medication, premiums, long-term care, and basic needs, such as food or housing.</p> <p>The high costs of healthcare in our state have devastated hundreds of thousands of New York families by bankrupting those who are underinsured or forcing them to forgo treatment due to the financial burden it usually causes. According to the Campaign for New York Health, approximately 1 million New Yorkers still do not have health insurance; 20,000 New Yorkers have died due to their lack of coverage in the last ten years; and millions more would be bankrupt if faced with a medical emergency under their current health care plan.</p> <p>The New York Health Act (NYHA) is the only option on the table that would provide comprehensive healthcare coverage to all New Yorkers. It would extend coverage to those that currently have no access while providing quality and comprehensive care to New Yorkers who have been traditionally underinsured.</p> <p>This year, we are going one step further. We are introducing a version of the NYHA that aims to close an additional gap in our healthcare system by integrating long-term care coverage into the legislation. This shift in policy will address our state’s long-term care crisis and meet the healthcare needs of seniors, people with disabilities, as well as countless family caregivers, who are primarily women, for generations to come.</p> <p>The benefits of including long-term care in the NYHA will not only be felt by those who will now be able to afford assisted living, nursing home care, or home health care, but it will also have a rippling effect on our economy. In the Northwest Bronx, where we both live and work, thousands of home health aides, care workers, and unpaid caregivers have to withstand low wages, few benefits, and not enough investment in training and retention services. The current system is financially debilitating to families, those who require care, and the workforce that is tasked with administering care, all of whom are predominantly women struggling to provide for their loved ones. For instance, nationally, Latinx family caregivers spend 44% of their annual income providing caregiving services, while African-American family caregivers spend 34% of their income.</p> <p>A healthcare system that guarantees long-term care coverage would help ease the financial burden of thousands of families across our state while dramatically improving the system for those who receive and provide care. According to a study recently released by the RAND Corporation, even with the addition of long-term care, the NYHA would cost less than what is being spent under the current healthcare system. It is simply the most fiscally responsible step to take.</p> <p>The majority of New Yorkers have spoken loud and clear. They are demanding a healthcare system that works for them and not for the most powerful corporations. This new version of the NYHA and our new leadership in Albany bring us one-step closer to making healthcare a right and not a privilege for all New Yorkers.</p> <p>***<br />State Senator Gustavo Rivera is the Senate sponsor of the New York Health Act. Karla Lawrence is a direct care worker specializing in gerontology and long-term care; she is a member of 1199 SEIU and the National Domestic Workers Alliance, and a leader in the New York Caring Majority.</p> <p>

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Trump’s State of the Union, Kavanaugh’s Dissent, and the Coordinated Attempt to Ban All Safe, Legal Abortion 2019-02-12T05:00:00+00:00 2019-02-12T05:00:00+00:00 http://www.gothamgazette.com/education/130-opinion/8274-trump-s-state-of-the-union-kavanaugh-s-dissent-and-the-coordinated-attempt-to-ban-all-safe-legal-abortion Laura McQuade lmcquade@gg.com <p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/gov-cuomo-womensrepro.jpg" alt="gov cuomo womensrepro" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>(photo: Governor's office)</p> <hr /> <p>Last week, new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh showed his true colors when it comes to access to safe, legal abortion. His dissent in the Louisiana case completely disregarded legal precedent and revealed his hostility to Roe v. Wade and subsequent Supreme Court cases upholding the law.</p> <p>Earlier in the week, President Trump used the highest office in the country to continue his misinformed, divisive brand of extremist politics, including by fear-mongering about abortion law in New York. This is not a drill: our constitutional right to abortion is under attack like never before.</p> <p>There has been a coordinated campaign by anti-abortion extremists to misinform and in fact outright lie about New York’s Reproductive Health Act and what it does. They are falsely citing this bill to promote reckless nationwide restrictions that would leave millions across the country without access to safe, legal abortion.</p> <p>The anti-abortion minority’s claims about abortion care in New York specifically and the United States more generally are patently false and are solely designed to lie to Americans in order to prevent more progressive legislation protecting abortion rights from being passed in other states. This is a calculated and orchestrated movement built on false facts and fear mongering.</p> <p>At Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC), we worked with partners and supporters for more than a decade to ensure that, regardless of what happens in Congress or the Supreme Court, New Yorkers — and those from outside New York who we may need to serve in the future — will have access to the abortion care they have today and will need in the future.</p> <p>The attacks on the Reproductive Health Act aren’t actually about later abortions — they are about slowing progress on protecting abortion rights at the state level and ultimately outlawing abortion in the United States entirely.</p> <p>Poll after poll shows that the majority of Americans believe that abortion must remain legal and accessible in the United States. Yet, extreme politicians in the overwhelming minority continue to try to control the conversation with lies about abortion care and those who need access to that care every day. States across the country continue to pass hundreds of laws that restrict people’s ability to receive abortion care.</p> <p>Yet, here in New York, we were able to pass legislation that would protect, not erode, abortion care, and that is what is at the heart of the most recent attacks — fear that voters and elected officials are fully understanding this extreme anti-abortion strategy and working to reverse it.</p> <p>New York State legalized abortion back in 1970, three years before the U.S. Supreme Court did so nationally through Roe v. Wade, and New Yorkers consistently supported abortion access in the succeeding years. However, the state failed to update its abortion law, leaving providers and patients without full protection. New York advocates lobbied for over a decade to mirror Roe in state law only to hit a conservative roadblock in the state Senate. On January 22, 2019, this long-overdue legislation was finally enacted into law.</p> <p>The RHA accomplishes three important things. It makes sure that the federal abortion rights we currently have are protected in New York law in the event that they are lost at the national level — and it’s clear this law came just in the nick of time. The RHA brings the protections of Roe into state law by ensuring that New Yorkers can access needed care throughout pregnancy when their health or life is endangered, or their pregnancy is not viable.</p> <p>It also recognizes that abortion is health care, not a crime, by moving the regulation of abortion care into the public health law where it belongs. And it clarifies that trained health care providers acting within their scope of practice can provide abortion care. This ensures that more New Yorkers have access to early and safe abortion care.</p> <p>Across New York City and the country, we at Planned Parenthood will continue to provide high-quality abortion care and fight to ensure that abortion remains safe and legal. We believe deeply in the right of all people — no matter who they are, where they live, or what they earn — to make their own personal decisions about their health, their families, and their paths in life, without political interference.</p> <p>***<br /> Laura McQuade is President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of New York City. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/PPNYCAction" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@PPNYCAction</a>.</p> <p>

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<p><img src="http://www.gothamgazette.com/images/graphics/2019/gov-cuomo-womensrepro.jpg" alt="gov cuomo womensrepro" width="600" height="400" /></p> <p>(photo: Governor's office)</p> <hr /> <p>Last week, new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh showed his true colors when it comes to access to safe, legal abortion. His dissent in the Louisiana case completely disregarded legal precedent and revealed his hostility to Roe v. Wade and subsequent Supreme Court cases upholding the law.</p> <p>Earlier in the week, President Trump used the highest office in the country to continue his misinformed, divisive brand of extremist politics, including by fear-mongering about abortion law in New York. This is not a drill: our constitutional right to abortion is under attack like never before.</p> <p>There has been a coordinated campaign by anti-abortion extremists to misinform and in fact outright lie about New York’s Reproductive Health Act and what it does. They are falsely citing this bill to promote reckless nationwide restrictions that would leave millions across the country without access to safe, legal abortion.</p> <p>The anti-abortion minority’s claims about abortion care in New York specifically and the United States more generally are patently false and are solely designed to lie to Americans in order to prevent more progressive legislation protecting abortion rights from being passed in other states. This is a calculated and orchestrated movement built on false facts and fear mongering.</p> <p>At Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC), we worked with partners and supporters for more than a decade to ensure that, regardless of what happens in Congress or the Supreme Court, New Yorkers — and those from outside New York who we may need to serve in the future — will have access to the abortion care they have today and will need in the future.</p> <p>The attacks on the Reproductive Health Act aren’t actually about later abortions — they are about slowing progress on protecting abortion rights at the state level and ultimately outlawing abortion in the United States entirely.</p> <p>Poll after poll shows that the majority of Americans believe that abortion must remain legal and accessible in the United States. Yet, extreme politicians in the overwhelming minority continue to try to control the conversation with lies about abortion care and those who need access to that care every day. States across the country continue to pass hundreds of laws that restrict people’s ability to receive abortion care.</p> <p>Yet, here in New York, we were able to pass legislation that would protect, not erode, abortion care, and that is what is at the heart of the most recent attacks — fear that voters and elected officials are fully understanding this extreme anti-abortion strategy and working to reverse it.</p> <p>New York State legalized abortion back in 1970, three years before the U.S. Supreme Court did so nationally through Roe v. Wade, and New Yorkers consistently supported abortion access in the succeeding years. However, the state failed to update its abortion law, leaving providers and patients without full protection. New York advocates lobbied for over a decade to mirror Roe in state law only to hit a conservative roadblock in the state Senate. On January 22, 2019, this long-overdue legislation was finally enacted into law.</p> <p>The RHA accomplishes three important things. It makes sure that the federal abortion rights we currently have are protected in New York law in the event that they are lost at the national level — and it’s clear this law came just in the nick of time. The RHA brings the protections of Roe into state law by ensuring that New Yorkers can access needed care throughout pregnancy when their health or life is endangered, or their pregnancy is not viable.</p> <p>It also recognizes that abortion is health care, not a crime, by moving the regulation of abortion care into the public health law where it belongs. And it clarifies that trained health care providers acting within their scope of practice can provide abortion care. This ensures that more New Yorkers have access to early and safe abortion care.</p> <p>Across New York City and the country, we at Planned Parenthood will continue to provide high-quality abortion care and fight to ensure that abortion remains safe and legal. We believe deeply in the right of all people — no matter who they are, where they live, or what they earn — to make their own personal decisions about their health, their families, and their paths in life, without political interference.</p> <p>***<br /> Laura McQuade is President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of New York City. On Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/PPNYCAction" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@PPNYCAction</a>.</p> <p>

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Have an op-ed idea or submission for Gotham Gazette? Email opinion@gothamgazette.com

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