Thank you, members of AQE, for your leadership and for being here to speak for children and the teachers who are building New York's future in classrooms across this state right now.
When it comes to our precious children we all know that parents are the best education advocates our children have in this world.
I know I speak for my colleagues in the Assembly Majority - led by our great Education Chair, Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan - when I say how proud we are to have the AQE as our partners.
We know, when it comes to fighting for our children and for the education dollars they deserve, that the letters A-Q-E really stand for: AIN'T … QUITTING … EVER!
That's not proper English, but it sends the message.
My friends, remember the days when a New York governor said that an 8th grade education was sufficient? How did we respond?
By fighting for CFE. By fighting for smaller class sizes. By fighting for more state aid for our high-needs school districts. By fighting for universal pre-K.
Together, the Assembly Majority and the AQE won significant school-aid hikes even in the worst of economic times, but we cannot quit!
It is time for New Yorkers to stand up and say, "a good, high-quality education cannot continue to be a luxury afforded only to the most fortunate children."
The policy of our Empire State must be that EACH AND EVERY CHILD MATTERS …… that EVERY CHILD'S FUTURE MATTERS.
New Yorkers must build a ladder. A ladder that will take each and every child from cradle to career.
We must begin by expanding the availability and raising the quality of early care for our youngest children. There is a child-care crisis in our state right now, and we need to address it immediately.
Building on the momentum created by Mayor Bill de Blasio, we need to take the universal pre-K program the Assembly Majority created, bolster it, expand it to full-day, statewide universal pre-K, and then make it sustainable for future generations.
And as we strengthen universal pre-K, we must likewise increase our investments in the after-school programs that keep our children safe and supervised when class time is finished.
We must strive to fulfill the promise of the CFE decision by significantly increasing the state's investment in our schools, especially our high-needs schools in every corner of our state.
Too many generations of children have been left behind. Too much potential has been allowed to slip through our fingers. NO MORE!
Our children are our future and when we shortchange them, we shortchange ourselves.
The Governor offered some good ideas in his State of the State Address. We should implement them as well, because EVERY … CHILD … MATTERS.
So, we look to Billy Easton, to the AQE, to the parents and to the teachers for the energy and for the passion we need to help the greatest state in the union build the greatest education system in the world.
This is what leadership is about. Our children deserve the best we can give them. Together, let's show them what we can do.
Thank you for being here. Now, let's get to work!