New York City plans to layoff 4,000 teachers as part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s new budget. The mayor says he has no other options after state lawmakers cut education funding. The teacher layoffs would save only $270 million out of a $65.7 billion budget.
Mike Alberti writing for the web site Remapping Debate points out that a modest tax increase could easily fund the retention of all 4,000 teachers. However, the Republican mayor says he will follow the example of the Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo who has declared a de facto moratorium on new taxes for state government.
How modest would the tax increase be to save the teachers? A household with an adjusted gross income of $300,000 would pay about $365 a year more in taxes. Anyone making less than $200,000 a year would play nothing. Yet, lawmakers in New York City would opt to lay off 4,000 teachers.
The layoff will undoubtedly have an impact on pre-school programming, academic achievement and graduation rates. All three in turn have an impact on community safety and crime rates.
A 40-year study of the Perry Preschool Program in Ypsilanti, Michigan, showed that children left out of the program were five times more likely to become chronic offenders by age 27 than those who participated. Similarly, studies of the Chicago Child Parent Center early education program showed that kids left out of the program were 70% more likely to have been arrested for a violent crime by age 18 than those who participated.
“Far too often, today’s dropouts are tomorrow’s criminals,” Monroe County District Attorney Michael Greene told fightcrime.org. “We want kids earning diplomas instead of rap sheets. We know that high quality preschool is an investment that can help us achieve this goal.”
Nearly 70% of all inmates in our nation’s prisons failed to earn a high school diploma. Research shows that high school dropouts are three-and-a-half times more likely than graduates to be arrested and eight times more likely to be incarcerated. In New York, 31 percent of students fail to graduate on schedule.
“It just isn’t acceptable that 31% of our students fail to graduate each year,” said state director Meredith Wiley. “But that is the state average. In many of our cities, it is actually much worse. All over the state kids are failing.” In New York City—48% are failing to get their high school diplomas.
New York City has experienced an unprecedented decline in crime. Has education contributed to the decline? The cutback in education funding may provide a glimpse into the connection between educational achievement and crime.
To read more: http://www.fightcrime.org/state/new-york/news/new-york-law-enforcement-dropout-rates-fueling-violent-crime-2