Multicultural Education: Challenges and Aspirations

Multicultural Education: Challenges and Aspirations

 
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Multicultural Education: Challenges and Aspirations

We speak with New York State Regent Luis O. Reyes on the evolution of multilingual education in New York, beginning with the ASPIRA Consent Decree that in 1974 established bilingual education as an entitlement for Puerto Rican and other Latinx students. NY is gradually transitioning to bicultural and bi-literate education. The Regents’ Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework represents the way forward.

*Overview and transcript below. 

Multicultural Education: Challenges and Aspirations

 
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Overview

00:00-01:04 Intro

1:06-04:09 Relevance of John Dewey, Paolo Freire, Eugenio Maria de Hostos

5:00-26:37 ASPIRA Consent Decree 45 years later

26:38-37:10 Regents’ “Social Emotional Learning: Essential for Learning, Essential for Life”; culturally responsive-sustaining education

37:11-41:35 Resources and resource needs for implementing Regents’ Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework

41:36-48:56 Recruiting and supporting Latinx and other culturally-competent teachers; creating teacher-development pipelines; increasing early childhood teacher salaries

48:57-52:57 Need for more state funding; Campaign for Fiscal Equity decision; equitable access to funds for all schools

Transcription of the episode

Amy H-L: 00:15 Hi, I’m Amy Halpern-Laff. 

Jon M: 00:17 And I’m Jon Moscow. Welcome to ethical schools, where we discuss strategies creating inclusive and equitable schools and youth programs that help students to develop both commitment and capacity to build ethical institutions. 

Amy H-L: 00:33 Our guest today is Dr. Luis O. Reyes. Dr. Reyes is member of the New York state Board of Regents, the body that oversees all educational activities in the state, including the New York State Education Department. Regent Reyes is the Director of Education at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College. He was a member of the New York city Board of Education from 1990 through 1998 and has been an educator for more than 48 years. Welcome Luis. 

Luis R: 01:04 Thank you. Amy. 

Jon M: 01:06 John Dewey wrote about schools modeling democracy and preparing students for democratic citizenship. You have talked about the influence on your work of Eugenio María de Hostos and Paolo Freire, who talked about education in the context of liberation. What’s the relevance of these perspectives for schools today? 

Luis R: 01:25 I think the relevance of John Dewey and Paulo Freire and Eugenio María de Hostos is that these were all men who were educators, leaders of movements to ensure that education was not just about rote memory or about testing, but education in pursuit of living in a democratic society and living a fully participating, using one’s mind, one’s will and one’s understanding of the social realities of our times to ensure that education becomes an instrument, not of dictating to people who they are, what they know or what they must do, but giving them the tools to help be co-creators of their own reality. Eugenio María de Hostos, a Puerto Rican educator after whom Hostos Community College in the South Bronx is named, was one of the preeminent leaders in education in Puerto Rico and in the Caribbean as part of the Confederación Antillana. He’s actually buried in the Dominican Republic and is revered there as he is in Puerto Rico. 

Jon M: 03:10 And didn’t he say that he didn’t want his body to be returned to Puerto Rico until it was independent? 

Luis R: 03:15 He did say that and that has been respected all these years. There’s no element of any part of Puerto Rican society trying to recover his remains irregardless of Puerto Rico’s status. So that’s Hostos. John Dewey obviously is a very famous and noted progressive educator leader in the United States affecting education throughout the world, not just the United States. And Paolo Freire was an educator leader in Latin America who pushed for education as part of a view of the world that says education has to be part of liberating individuals to participate fully in their life in this society. And so critical pedagogy or Freirean pedagogy is very much tied to the concept that we go to school, we get, we become educated, we work with other students, with teachers, our parents and others to liberate our mind, to liberate our bodies and ourselves from oppression, from ignorance, and to use that education and knowledge to make change and to make democratic change (small r, small d) in the societies in which we live. 

Amy H-L: 05:00 Luis, a big part of that is language. Of course, in 1974 the ASPIRA consent decree established bilingual instruction as a legally enforceable entitlement for New York City’s Puerto Rican and other Latinex students. In the 80s, as ASPIRA’s director of research and advocacy, you monitored the Board of Ed’s compliance with the decree. 45 years later, what are your thoughts on the consent decree in New York City? 

Luis R: 05:28 And understanding that, uh, we went to court in 1972, not I, but the leaders of ASPIRA, other educators, parents, went to a federal court, I believe in the Eastern district, basically arguing that the rights that children have to education was being taken away from them because the students whose first language was Spanish, Puerto Rican and other Latino students in New York City, were unable to participate and to profit from a monolingual English education in the New York City public schools despite the fact that federal law indicated that children of whatever background have a right to public education and in 1974, in a case brought by Chinese-American parents in San Francisco, Lau vs the Board of Ed, had won a lawsuit. The Supreme Court declared that they had a right to special language assistance and the nature of that assistance was determined to be English as a second language classes. In fact, the judge in the case that ASPIRA took in 1972 and had not been resolved over two years, indicated to the ASPIRA plaintiffs and to the Board of Education defendants that they needed to come back to court and actually he did this from one day to the next. He said, I need for you to come to meet tomorrow with an agreement, a consent decree that would be signed by both sides, agreed to by both sides and have the imprimatur of the court and that’s what happened. The consent decree, however, was based on a compromise, the compromise between the ASPIRA plaintiffs, their educational advocates, the lawyers of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund that was founded precisely in 1972 to accompany and be the lawyers for the ASPIRA plaintiffs. The lawyers argued from the perspective of that legally at that time students were being described as limited in English proficiency, having something that was missing in terms of their skills, their language, English language arts skills, listening, speaking, reading and writing. And therefore the Lau case said English as a second language. The plaintiffs, ASPIRA, came with a vision that was founded in the Puerto Rican community and ASPIRA’s vision of education to prepare students to graduate from school with full skills in all subject areas, be able to get a high school diploma, go on to college. ASPIRA was founded as a student leadership organization with clubs in high schools throughout New York City. And the, the goals of ASPIRA and of the education that we were supporting is that not only that they graduate from school and that they be prepared and able to apply and get into college and graduate from college, but also have a career, have the skills to have a career. And the third point, which today is as important as it was in their original vision, that students would become active citizens and participate in the, not just economic and academic sphere, but in the civics sphere. So the founder of ASPIRA, Dr. Antonia Pantoja, was a social worker and had a master’s degree from Hunter College School of Social Work and later had a doctorate. The vision was that education and leadership development of youth was for students to create community organizations and institutions to serve youth, to serve their families, to serve the community. So we had the Puerto Rican Forum, we had PRACA, we had a number of organizations that were founded by Dr. Pantoja and people in her time to meet the needs, the various needs of the Puerto Rican community. And in fact, the purpose for her of ASPIRA and of an education was to develop the community. So if we have aging people, we have people who are on welfare, we have children who, in foster care that we create. If the city and governmental agencies are not serving those children, we should create the agencies to serve them ourselves. Today, there is something called the Hispanic Federation throughout the state and New Jersey and Connecticut. And there are hundreds of organizations that serve our community at all levels. And so what we saw, which a developmental bilingual program that would build on the first language, the home language, Spanish , of the Puerto Rican Latino students in 1972, but that students would be able to participate in learning content and they could do it by learning through Spanish. So Spanish, as a native language was a subject area, language, Spanish language arts. In addition, math, science and social studies classes would be taught in Spanish and students would also get English as a second language class in which they learn the four elements of language arts – listening, speaking, reading and writing. The Consent Decree saw that the goal would be that the end of the process was children and the students graduating from the schools would be biliterate, a word that probably wasn’t even used back in 1974. Bilingual, bicultural, meaning they knew about their own history and culture, and the ASPIRA Clubs were part of that process, teaching students about the history of Puerto Rico, the great migration from Puerto Rico to New York and to other states in the United States. The goal was that they would build on and develop both skills. The court said that a transitional bilingual program was sufficient because that’s what we agreed to with the Board of Ed. The Board of Education at the time was not supportive of bilingual instruction and they supported what they saw as an English-as-quickly-as-possible alternative, transitional bilingual, which is to say when taking a English language proficiency test, it was called the LAB, the battery of tests. When you reach the 10th percentile, you would be actually the 20th percent, excuse me, that you would be able to do well in English only classroom. In 1972, 1982, Dr. Frank Macchiarola went back to court and tried to argue that that should be brought down to the 10th percentile. So ASPIRA eight years after the consent decree had to go back to court. What we originally got in 1974, by 1984, 40% of kids who were identified as Limited English Proficient, now most recently called English Language Learners and today described as Multilingual Learners. 40% of the kids who were eligible for any kind of service were getting nothing, which is why we had to go back to court and say they are not living up to the letter of the Consent Decree and the judge in the case in 1984 threw out the arguments that Chancellor Macchiarola was making and in fact they had to reinstate and ensure that the 40% of children who were getting nothing, not ESL, not transitional bilingual instruction to two languages, that they had to then become, to correct their actions and you had to be able to verify it by visiting the schools, by looking at the data that was being received. The Consent Decree and Lau were joined in New York such that in later time, if there were enough children speaking other languages, other than Spanish, what covered by the ASPIRA consent decree, meaning that the right to instruction in two languages, including English as a second language, was available to all students. If there were enough students in a grade level to form at least at least 20 students at a grade, first grade, fifth grade, ninth grade to form a class in one language. So if you had a community where there were Haitian Creole or Chinese Mandarin speakers and there were enough, they had a right to ESL and they could opt if they wanted, out of a bilingual program, but they also had the right to have bilingual instruction in Mandarin Chinese and English. And so over the years we have seen bilingual programs in the various languages being implemented and in some cases well, in other cases poorly. The history of the Consent Decree has to be seen in the context of the law, but also has to be seen in the context of the financial bankruptcy of New York City in 1974 so that the Consent Decree was implemented in ‘75, at the same time that New York City was declared bankrupt fiscally. And a Control Board like there is in Puerto Rico because of the deficits in Puerto Rico, the bankruptcy in Puerto Rico, the Control Board had control over the finances. And the New York City and monolingual teachers, mostly white, mostly women in large part Jewish, but Italian, Irish, German Americans. Many of those teachers had to be fired. Guidance counselors, school psychologists and nurses who were part of the professional staff in schools had to be fired in many cases because of the budget cuts that were imposed on the City. And the United Federation of Teachers, the UFT, under the leadership of Albert Shanker, was very opposed to the ASPIRA consent decree and bilingual education. And in fact, Shanker in his New York Times columns, wrote about bilingual education as very un-American and divisive and it was just a job programs for Hispanics because he saw that bilingual teachers had to be hired by the school system to teach in these newly formed bilingual programs and the ESL teachers, if there was only ESL, while the monolingual teachers were being not hired and many of them being excessed. And so it took all the way till 1984 when Macchiarola was trying to cut back on the requirements for the bilingual educators, ASPIRA. And this is where I came in in 1982 at the request of Dr. Pantoja to support ASPIRA and to support the school system’s implementation of bilingual programs that we were able to have a dialogue with the second president of the United Federation of Teachers, Sandra Feldman, who became president after Albert Shanker retired or passed away. It was under her leadership with now AFT president Randi Weingarten head counsel to the president and counsel of the United Federation of Teachers that we came to an understanding and agreement to work together to implement the decree and to get beyond the us vs them. And so we went to Albany and through the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus and the Puerto Rican Hispanic Legislative Task Force under Angelo Del Toro and others were able to get funding for what was then called LEP Aid, Limited English Proficient Aid, so that people couldn’t say, well, there’s no money to form these classes. So we got state funding along with funding from the city and slowly built back so that the percent of students not getting anything came to what it is today, in the single digit percentages. Yes, there are still children not being served, but the vast majority are getting some sort of English as a Second Language or bilingual transitional bilingual services or in schools that have been created over the last number of years, dual language programs where 50% of the class are English speakers and 50% of students who speak a language other than English. So you could have a Spanish dual language program in an elementary school, let’s say in East Harlem whereas in Queens or in some other part where there’s large Chinese populations as in Chinatown, Lower East Side, you might have a dual language program that was Mandarin-English. The English speakers get the benefit of learning content as well as Mandarin Chinese in their classrooms with the EL students, the Mandarin EL students becoming part of the resources that it’s not just the teacher of the children who can speak the language and so the students are models for each other of the two languages and that creates an environment that’s closer to what Paolo Freire, I’m not sure about John Dewey, but certainly Eugenio Maria de Hostos, what they had in mind, that students learn together both languages and they learn content. And this is one of the biggest problems today, the lack even in 2019 for curriculum content that tells the story of African American, Caribbean, Latino, Native American, Asian. The content of the syllabus is not determined by the state. What needs to be taught is decided locally. And we have yet to, unlike other cities and states in the United States that have mandated an inclusion of African American history and culture. And today. that’s something that I think is part of the work that has to be done by all educators, not just to have teachers who reflect all the students, which is another issue. Language issues, culture issues, race issues among the students and the teachers and the educators and leaders and the parents. All of these issues are intertwined because we live in a world where we can’t put language in a compartment and separate it. A child who was homeless, a child who’s in a foster care home, a child who comes from China, comes from Dominican Republic or from some other nation migrates or emigrates and comes to New York. Even from Puerto Rico being citizens, they know one reality or a different reality. Oftentimes, it may be they’re coming because of economic need. It could be because of other reasons. We have children who came because of Hurricane Maria and there are more Puerto Rican children in Buffalo and in Rochester, displaced by Maria, attending and enrolled in public schools. than there are in New York city. Why? We’re eight million people. Well, the cost of living in Buffalo and Rochester is much lower. And so if you have relatives there, you can send your child or maybe accompany your child. It doesn’t mean you have a residence, your own apartment or any other things, but you can stay with relatives. But you then become eligible. as It turns out. And this is something that the courts and the state have determined. You have a right to resources from the federal government and McKinney Vento legislation law, which is funds that are provided to children who are homeless. That’s a long answer to a complicated question. 

Jon M: 26:38 Thank you. Thank you very much. So one of the questions we definitely want to, you know, dig into some of the questions around culturally responsive and sustaining education. But I wanted to ask you, last year in 2018, in its document “SEL, Essential For Learning, Essential For Life,” the State Ed Department, the Regents called for organizing schools around the importance of social emotional learning, including teaching students to make ethical decisions. And I was struck in reading it, that the Department acknowledged that this would require a huge cultural shift for many schools and districts, and that implementation would require lots of institutional obstacles. How has the State Department been implementing these changes and how has the, how have the decisions in the document been reflected in budget priorities, staffing priorities, things like that? How does, how do the Regents see helping schools and districts make this kind of really fundamental alteration in many cases and how it views what goes on in schools? 

Luis R: 27:52 In many ways, the decision that you saw in 2018 is aspirational, meaning that we are in the process at the level of the Regents, the State Education Department, its own leadership of, we’re in a process of transition, we hope a process of transformation. We’ve had a number of changes in leadership. Just this August, the commissioner, Mary Ellen Elia, resigned. The deputy commissioner for student support, Angélica Infante-Green, became commissioner in Rhode Island. She had been in charge of the office of bilingual ed and when she moved up to deputy commissioner, her assistant and colleague, Lisette Colon-Collins, stepped into that Office of Bilingual Ed and World Languages. She went to Yonkers several months ago as an associate commissioner. So we’ve had changes and loss of a number of very important people, Lissette and Angélica in particular, when it comes to bilingual education. But we’re also in a transition from a focus on high stakes testing and standard core curriculum under Obama, President Obama, Secretary Arne Dunkin, the No Child Left Behind apparatus and structure, followed by the Race to the Top and now the elementary, no, educational success, ESSA, the new mandate from the federal government where still we’re very much tied to a focus on math and English language arts, oftentimes social studies, science and other areas getting short shrift. What we said in that document is that education is not just about math and language arts test scores and high stakes tests on which not just students are being measured and evaluated and rewarded or not, but teachers as well. And so the whole infrastructure around high stakes testing and Common Core has distorted the goal of education, which includes socio-emotional learning or as the recently passed regent, Judith Johnson, who was a deputy assistant secretary under Richard Riley when he was in Washington under I believe, Clinton, President Clinton. She says, “how are the children doing? Are they well?” And so she was making the point that wellness was the goal that children be well-educated, well housed, well supported, well counseled, well cared for. Children come to us whether it’s in the ninth grade from another country or they come to us in pre- kindergarten in what are now UPK4 and UPK3 programs that New York City has implemented over the last three years under Mayor de Blasio with funding from the state. But pre-K is not about testing little three year olds and four year olds on some types of tests, but is meeting them where they are and what is appropriate in terms of educating a child. They need to be socialized to work and play and learn with other children and behave and respect the rights of everybody around them. And that means socio-emotional learning, play based learning, storytelling, listening to stories, being able to speak up, listen to others. And so we are trying to transform the nature of education to be beyond test prep where you become judged by whether you, uh, you have an 800 on the SAT or some other, some other tests. So ethical questions become important because teachers have to be ethical in how they treat the children. We don’t accept that parents abuse their children physically, sexually, or let anybody else do it and we certainly don’t expect teachers to be involved in any way allowing students to be abused. And so I would say that we are, there’s a long history going back to Dewey, Freire, Hostos and others, and even further. We don’t want schools to be factories either in preparing products or in how they treat the workers as just punching out products. And it’s a long way to go. We are talking about a culturally renewing, sustaining education. That means the teachers themselves have to be knowledgeable. And diverse. And we have to ensure that there are more people of color, more people from both male and female backgrounds. We have to ensure that they are competent, not only in subject matter in all of the subjects that are possible, that are taught, but that they be competent in understanding how to bridge their culture, the culture of children from different backgrounds in the same classroom, the families, how do they engage the parents as partners and ensure that the teaching materials also reflect the diversity of the community, the diversity of the United States and New York City, New York State. And that’s a problem we don’t see in even out of some of the major institutions, higher ed institutions. We don’t see necessarily content and books that reflect authors from across the racial, ethnic sexuality spectrum. And that’s something where I work at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, we are just beginning to look at our own curriculum materials. We’ve developed a Cultural Ambassadors training program that uses all of our resources: oral history documents, books that have been written, research books, children’s books. But we realized that Puerto Ricans, like, Italians like Jews or any other group have a variety of diversity of sexual orientation and gender identification and what materials do we have available to them. And so the materials by themselves are not going to teach. The teachers have to work with the student, with the parents and with others to read those stories, to discuss them, to understand them, to learn how to write your own stories about your own experiences. And that means being open to accepting and respecting the diversity that’s in the school, in the daycare center, in the nursery, in the college. 

Amy H-L: 37:11 How does the State Education Department allocate resources for the Culturally Responsive-Sustaining Education Framework that the Regents adopted earlier this year? 

Luis R: 37:20 That’s a good question. We don’t mint our own money. We get funds from the federal government and so issues of cultural competence can be embedded as they are in Head Start for federal dollars for Head Start are years ahead of New York City and New York State. And when it comes to educating children and, and acknowledging and building on the linguistic cultural background of the children, the families, the materials, we don’t dictate what textbooks people use. So the school system, New York City, makes decisions at various levels locally. The school district, now they have regional superintendents or executive superintendents who are responsible for districts and release funds from the City to the schools. We have a long ways to go to be able to fund these these efforts. Teacher education, professional development. We just put into our budgetary requests on Tuesday at the Rregents meeting, funding for workforce development, of programs, starting with infants and toddlers all the way through age five, meaning there are daycare centers, there are Head Start, Early Head Start, three year old pre-K and four year old pre-K programs and we have staff that need to be trained to understand issues of language, culture, ethnicity, race, economic diversity and be competent. And so we’re asking for funds over a three, five year period going forward, starting next year’s budget to train the workforce in this area of nursery through pre-K. Anything that’s covered under kindergarten to 12th grade has much more funding available for professional development and it’s built into the budget. And so we’re saying not only do we need to fund UPK programs throughout beyond New York City because in many rural and other municipal areas in the state that don’t have UPK programs, which have depended on funding from the state, from the governor and the legislature over the last three years. But not all of the kids are, by far, are in programs who are eligible. So there’s a lot, there’s a lot of work at that level. And the culturally and sustaining is P-20, so think about how many thousands and thousands of teachers, teacher aides, guidance counselors, school board. If you weren’t a bilingual teacher who went through a bilingual certification, but you’re the principal of the school that has 30-40% of your kids are in a bilingual ESL program, how is the principal trained? What kind of requirements are there? Have there been in the certification of and licensing of teachers? And so we were talking about making changes in those areas, the licensing and certification course content. At the same time we’re talking about getting funding for professional development and getting funding for curriculum and instruction materials. 

Jon M: 41:36 So picking up on one specific aspect of that, in addition to the funding and this kind of training and pre-service and inservice education, what are you seeing as the most effective strategies specifically for recruiting and supporting Latinx teachers and teachers who may not be Latinx but are culturally sensitive and culturally competent to recruit and support teachers to, to overcome the shortages of culturally competent teachers for Latinx and other groups of students? 

Luis R: 42:12 I think we have to understand that it’s about creating or building a new or renewing and expanding an education pipeline and pathways to the teaching profession and the other educational professions that are associated with guidance counselors, et cetera. And that means in some ways going back to the middle schools and encouraging students to start thinking about what they should be studying now and what they want to study when they go to high school and what high school they want to apply. So we have to create a pipeline that in many ways is similar to, maybe earlier than, the pipeline that ASPIRA created in 1961 through the ASPIRA organization and youth leadership clubs. ASPIRA at one point had 200 ASPIRA Clubs in high schools – public high schools, Catholic high schools, private schools throughout the city, and the purpose of those schools were to create leaders. One of the areas of leadership was teaching and so today we have a colleague, Professor Tatiana Kleyn, who just presented a series of videos that were created about how to support immigrant students at all levels of the school system. This was done with state funding, a small amount of funding, and that was presented to the Regents and the State Education Department this week along with a resource guide. All of that needs to get into the hands of teachers and school administrators so that they can support students. One of the things that Tatiana and her colleagues have done has been to support Dreamer clubs. We’re talking about clubs at the high school level of students who are themselves immigrants. They may be documented, undocumented. It doesn’t matter. The clubs are the idea of students who are immigrants who can have the potential and funding. We hope soon that the New York State Dream Act that was signed, that that Dream Act, which allows for eligibility for Dreamers to continue their education, that we now need funding so that the dreamers who were in high school can stay in school, graduate, apply for college and be, even if they are not citizens, be able to participate in higher education programming that could lead to a teaching degree. You know that lawyers, there was a decision a year or two ago that you don’t have to be a US citizen to get a law degree in the state of New York. So I would say that we need to create at the high school level at least if not before, that opportunities for students to participate in clubs that honor that or show interest in education and having college students become mentors. If you had Dreamers who are in college, DACA recipients who are in college, for them to go back to the high school or to the middle schools that they come from and support other students. We have to also make teaching an area that gets support and funding. The United Federation of Teachers, the AFT, are very much able to gain the credentials and the salaries over the many years. But there are people in Head Start and daycare centers in nonpublic school settings that are in community based organizations who have to get food stamps because they are not paid enough and many of them are able to work in these nurseries or daycare centers with a high school diploma. So we have to create a pipeline for people who are in early childhood to be able to get certification and licensing and get a BA and an MA. That means you have to start recruiting among this very poor class of teachers. Or if you get a master’s degree from Hunter College in early childhood education and you’re working in a daycare center, tomorrow, if you left, if you resigned, you would be getting paid at least $15,000 more in a New York City public school pre-K program because you’re covered by the contract that was negotiated between the United Federation of Teachers and New York City. And the good news is, I think in the last few days, we saw that Mayor De Blasio made a commitment to start paying more to the people working in these daycare centers and community based. But I don’t know if it’s one or two years down the line that it will be implemented. There’s an understanding that you can’t have quality education, P-20, if you don’t have a contractual system, a salary system, of parity so that teachers, educators, like  parents and others, move from one part of town to another part, from one city to another and move from one job to another and we have to make sure that they’re able to make a living that’s appropriate. 

Jon M: 48:57 Absolutely. Is there anything that you’d like to add that we haven’t talked about? 

Luis R: 49:02 I’d like to say that my sense is that we are at a very critical time, uh, on all levels of our government when it comes to funding for education. We’re talking about being owed still three, four billion dollars from the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit and the settlement and the agreement at the end of that, Judge Leland DeGrasse, who indicated seven elements of a sound basic education that’s guaranteed by the state constitution. And the class size is one of them. ELL model ELL and services for students with special needs, professional development. All of those things are needed and yet we still are short in the funding that had been agreed to under the court’s mandate because of the last recession in 2008, Governor Spitzer stopped adding funds and then he left. And subsequently the governor has not added beyond whatever gets agreed to from year to year. So we have a long ways to go and we can talk, the Board of Regents, we pass resolutions, we have a Commissioner and a State Education Department that can develop guidelines and all kinds of other regulations. But we depend on the other branches of government. And when I say the branches of government, I’m not just talking the legislative, executive and judicial in New York State, but at the federal level as well. We depend on the federal government, the state government and the local government, knowing that we are living in a society where we are economically, racially and culturally oftentimes segregated, the schools themselves. And so I could live in one part of my district on the Upper West Side and go to a school that has the resources that well off middle class, well educated parents are able to add and yet there are other schools where the working class parents do not have the ability to make up for what’s missing. So we’ve got to insist that government does everything it can to ensure equal education opportunity, to ensure the resources and the professional development needed for equal educational outcomes. And we can try to close the various gaps in achievement, whether by level or by subject. And that while we’re doing all of that, we’re not just being reactive, but we are being creative, ensuring that the students are learning the skills that are needed in a world in which you and I can communicate by radio, by electronics, and are able to communicate with thousands of people and hopefully more in the future so that ethics in education is not a course or a weekend workshop, a webinar that you attend. 

Amy H-L: 52:58 Thank you so much, Regent Luis O. Reyes. 

Jon M: 52:58 And thank you listeners for joining us. We’d like to hear how you’ve incorporated ideas you’ve heard on our podcast or read on the blog. Are there topics you’d like to hear more about? Please email us at hosts@ethicalschools.org. We also offer professional development for schools and afterschool programs in New York City area. Contact us for details. Check out prior episodes and articles on our site. We’ve recently begun posting transcripts of episodes as well. We’re on Facebook, Twitter @ethicalschools and Instagram. Our editor and social media manager is Amanda Denti. Till next week.