ADA believes that education is one of the cornerstones of a good government, an enlightened populace, and a healthy nation. We believe specifically that providing a quality public education available to all citizens is an obligation of government. Education is a right and not a privilege.
We believe the solutions to the problems faced by public schools include:
- Better and more equitable funding. Many of the worst performing schools continue to receive inadequate funds to meet the needs of the students they serve. Without the money to provide adequate school supplies and a trained, quality staff, many schools cannot meet the high standards demanded in a global society.
- Smaller class sizes. Research suggests that smaller class sizes do much to improve the learning experience of our kids. A higher ratio of teachers to students allows the teachers to give greater attention to the problems of their students, who test higher as a result.
- Better trained and better paid teachers. Many New York City teachers have not received certification because they have failed to pass the basic tests for certification. We believe that in order to provide quality education, we need to spend the money to hire and train quality teachers.
- On-going research. Current research suggests that a quality teacher makes economic success in later life far more likely. We support the use of economic impact data as one of many factors in evaluating teacher performance.
- Better trained and better paid administrators. In the discussion of quality teachers, we believe it is also important to assure that the administrative staff is connected to the life of the school, providing support and guidance to teachers and support staff.
We believe the following are not useful solutions:
- Voucher programs. The idea behind voucher programs is that students who cannot find a quality education in the public schools have part or all of their tuition transferred to a private school from the public school system. Not only do vouchers take money away from the public schools. They take away some of the best students from the public school system as well. They often end up funding private and religious schools with public money. We should solve the problems with the public schools rather than give public money to private institutions.
- Charter schools. Similarly, charter schools, often privately owned and operated, are given public license to teach our students without the limitations provided by the public school system. While this can lead to innovative solutions in the field of education, it can also lead to students being taught with no standard at all, or an unacceptable standard. We oppose charter schools unless they are publicly owned and operated.