Special Report on
Assemblyman Stringer Education

Dear Neighbor:

Protecting educational services and programs for our children is one of the most important parts of my job. I am writing to update you about my activities over the past months in this area, as well as important government actions affecting NYC’s schools. Inside you will find information on my continued fight to ensure that our students have adequate textbooks, as well as my recent report that documents the rampant neglect of health education for grades K-8 in NYC school districts.

Our schools have faced a number of changes over this past year. On June 26th, the Court of Appeals decided in favor of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity’s lawsuit demanding NYC’s fair share of state education funding. This ruling represents a tremendous win for NYC schools. In addition to this historic decision, Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein have made dramatic alterations to NYC’s school system. In this newsletter, you will find the latest news on how these changes will affect the Clinton and Upper West Side communities.

During this past legislative session, we had some key successes regarding education. The Legislature made an unprecedented agreement to restore a majority of spending cuts proposed by the Governor for K-12 State education funding. We also took positive steps to ensure parental involvement in the restructuring of the City’s education system. Next session I will continue to push for equitable education funding for NYC, more up-to-date textbooks for our children to learn, and an increased governmental priority for health education in our classrooms.

As always, our office is here to serve you. Please contact us with your questions, comments, and ideas.




On June 26th, the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) in its decade-long case against the State of New York for more funding for NYC schools. For years, we have known that the State shortchanges urban districts in per pupil allocations. Now, the State must change the school aid formula in order to deliver more money to needy city schools. This ruling is a major victory for our children. With more educational resources, we can finally give our kids, teachers and administrators the financial support they need to succeed.

The task before the State Legislature in the coming months is to ensure that children with the least resources are guaranteed higher graduation rates, adequate materials, and increased academic performance. This ruling gives us an unprecedented opportunity to take a long, hard look at New York’s education system and make a promise to each and every child in this City that if they work hard, they will receive a quality education. An 8th grade education no longer signifies a sound basic education; instead, New York must provide every child with a quality education from Kindergarten to high school graduation.

We must put politics aside to bring fairness to the State’s educational spending as I am committed to fight for an education system in New York that is equitable.


On June 22nd, I joined with parents, youth, and health and education advocates to release my alarming report on the state of public school health education for grades K-8. Through in-depth interviews with NYC school district health coordinators, our office discovered rampant disregard of health education mandates, which require public schools to teach elementary and middle school students topics on HIV and AIDS, alcohol and substance abuse prevention, and Sex Education and Family Living (FL/SE).

Public schools have a responsibility to provide our youth with comprehensive health knowledge as children do not adopt healthy behaviors in a vacuum. Obviously, this is not what is happening. My investigation found:

  • 75% of districts violate at least one of the government mandates for health education;
  • 63% of districts violate the specific mandate on the number of properly trained teachers for either HIV/AIDS or FL/SE curricula;
  • 70% of districts inaccurately describe one or more of the health education mandates;
  • 70% of districts do not actively oversee how or whether all mandated health instruction occurs in individual schools; and
  • 63% of districts are forced to compensate for the insufficiencies in the State and City health education mandates.
photo Assemblymembers Dick Gottfried and Jonathan Bing, youth, parents, and health and education groups attend a press conference with Assemblymember Stringer in support of his report on health education in NYC public schools.

These statistics clearly illustrate the utter disarray of health education in NYC schools. Even those districts that want to strengthen their health education programs are seriously limited by resource constraints and lack of State and City government support.

This report comes out at a time when New York’s teenage pregnancy rate currently ranks 9th in the United States, and young people under the age of 25 constitute approximately one-half of all new HIV cases in the nation. Yet, close to 40% of New York’s adolescents failed to use a condom the last time they engaged in sexual intercourse. New York’s childhood obesity rate also tops the list in the nation, and alcohol and substance abuse remain pressing problems among City youth.

In light of our findings, I called on City officials to conduct an immediate, full-scale investigation of each school district in our City to account for what is happening and what is not regarding health education. In addition, I have proposed a series of recommendations to institute a comprehensive health education program in New York, including updating decades-old curricula, funding comprehensive health education, improving teacher training, and creating regional oversight panels.

The City has an obligation to assure parents and the community that every child in the system is receiving current, coherent, and comprehensive health instruction. Mayor Bloomberg’s current reorganization of the school system provides a unique opportunity to address this and other reforms. I will work hard in demanding that our education leaders bring our system back to life and take the first, essential step by giving our children the gift of good health.


For the second year in a row, I rallied against Pataki’s plan to significantly reduce State textbook funding to NYC. Not only did Pataki want to cut textbook funding for the second consecutive year, but he also expected NYC to bear the near total brunt of this cut yet again.

My 2002 textbook report revealed a number of egregious conditions running rampant throughout NYC’s public school system, including book shortages, out-dated textbooks, and teachers forced to violate federal copyright law by photocopying textbooks. Despite these findings, Pataki went ahead with his plan to cut funding for NYC for the 2002-03 school year while increasing funding for the rest of the State by more than $4.5 million.

In my follow-up investigation on NYC textbooks, I found that the Governor’s proposed 2003-04 education budget cut statewide textbook funding by $380,000, out of which a whopping $370,000 came from NYC alone. This means that Pataki’s 2003 budget proposal unfairly placed the burden of a 97.3% textbook cut on NYC, with the remaining 2.7% to be divided up among the rest of the State.

Pataki’s near total reliance on NYC to finance these cuts to textbook spending is incomprehensible, especially since only 40% of the state’s total textbook aid goes to NYC.

These budget cuts are unacceptable, particularly since many of our public school kids have been put at a competitive disadvantage with outdated and illegible textbooks for so long. At least $2000 more per pupil goes to the suburbs and upstate than to NYC, often leaving thousands of NYC students without the basic materials needed to receive an education.

NYC is entering a particularly critical year for textbooks. New curriculum will be introduced in thousands of schools, forcing the purchase of new and different textbooks. Furthermore, textbook funding must be an integral part of bringing the State into compliance with the recently-upheld education standards by the Court of Appeals in its CFE ruling.

I will continue to call for immediate action in response to this crisis to ensure that our students receive adequate materials to learn to their highest potential.

Textbook Access for Students with Disabilities

photo All college students deserve equal access to educational materials. Students with disabilities are often denied access to these materials, as printed books cannot accommodate their disability. To address this injustice, I introduced Assembly bill A.6216-a, which requires textbook publishers to provide disabled students with electronic copies of educational materials at a comparable cost.

I am pleased to announce this bill has passed both the Senate and Assembly, and it is currently awaiting action by the Governor. This legislation will rectify some of the inequities faced by disabled students in accessing educational opportunities. I am confident this bill will enhance the lives of current students with disabilities and encourage more disabled individuals to seek higher education.

K-12 Education: A Priority in the Legislature’s Budget

In a historic budget agreement between the Assembly and the Senate, State legislators made education a priority by restoring $1.1 billion of the Governor’s proposed $1.4 billion cut in funding for K-12 education. This restoration saved a number of key services for our children, such as smaller class sizes as well as early education and after-school programs. The Legislature also reinstated aid to bring our classrooms up to date with 21st Century technology.

I will continue to fight for enhanced education funding next legislative session to ensure that NYC students have the resources they need to become a part of New York’s future workforce.

School Governance: Local Community Involvement Preserved

Parental involvement is a critical component of the restructuring of NYC’s public school system. A bill that recently passed the Legislature guarantees an important parental and community role in this new system. Under this legislation, community district education councils comprised of parents will replace the old community schools districts. These councils will have the same powers as the community school boards, thus preserving the current level of parental involvement while leaving a door open to even more community involvement in the future. The legislation also creates a city-wide council on special education, so that parents of children with special needs will finally have a voice. I am proud of the efforts of the Assembly Committee on Education to keep communities and parents active in our schools.

This spring we saw many changes to the face and shape of our local school community. As schools let out for the summer, I want to inform you of some important actions affecting education on the West Side.

photo Assemblymember Scott Stringer joins staff members and friends of the NYPL’s Riverside Branch to celebrate the renovations made possible through funds secured by his office.
The Effects of
Reorganization on Community School District 3

As many of you know, the Mayor and Chancellor have made many changes to the public school system. This fall, many of those changes will be implemented. Region 10 will now encompass our Community School District 3 (CSD 3). Lucille Swarns will serve as the Region 10 Superintendent. The main office for Region 10 is located at 187th Street and Broadway. As part of the settlement agreement reached with the Chancellor, CSD 3 will remain open with a local superintendent and support staff to aid parents with concerns or issues. Roser Salavert was recently appointed as the new local Community School District Superintendent. The office is at 154 West 93rd Street. DJ Sheppard will remain as CSD Parent Support Officer and can be reached at (212) 678-2880.

If you have any questions about the restructuring of NYC’s education system, please feel free to call our office.

Stringer Updates MLK High School on Textbook Shortage

I was delighted to speak at Martin Luther King High School this spring and address an audience of parents and students on the lack of textbook funding from the State to NYC. Working to ensure that all of our children have up-to-date and sufficient numbers of textbooks has been an ongoing struggle. I am hopeful that as new money comes from the State as a result of the CFE lawsuit, we can finally put forth adequate resources for textbook funding in our City.

PS 166 Changes Its Name to Honor Local Composer

On June 10th, PS 166 changed its name to the Richard Rogers School of Arts and Technology. Many great New Yorkers, including Richard Rogers, Jonas Salk, and J.D. Salinger, have passed through the hallways and classrooms at PS 166 since the school was first established. "Oh, what a beautiful morning" it was the day the school paid tribute to the legacy of Rogers.

PS 199 Opens New Playground

Also on June 10th, PS 199 held a ribbon cutting ceremony for their new playground. Over 100 students and parents celebrated this wonderful new addition to our neighborhood. The City Parks Department did a fantastic job creating a recreational facility that children can enjoy for years to come.

computer EMAIL ME!
I am continuing to compile a list of e-savvy constituents to receive updates via email. Please email me at strings@assembly.state.ny.us, and I will add you to my list of cyber constituents.

230 West 72nd Street, Suite 2F, New York, NY 10023
(212) 873-6368 • fax: (212) 873-6520