NEW YORK: Bishops protest proposed education cuts

October 30, 2009

Eight New York bishops sent a letter to the state's Governor David Patterson Oct. 29 protesting proposed budget cuts to education.

In the letter, the bishops, representing the state's six Episcopal dioceses, gave four reasons among their concerns for opposing the cuts:

• "We believe that it is immoral to work out the consequences of adult behavior on the backs of children. Ideally we should give more resources to better prepare this generation to inherit the world we are leaving them.
• "The proposed cuts disproportionately affect poor and minority children, further entrenching institutional racism in our society.
• "The lack of resources will reinforce the school to prison pipeline. Such cuts are a false economy, as keeping a child in school is a fraction of the cost of keeping him in prison.
• "These cuts will reverse the hard-won progress made in recent years."

Patterson proposed $686 million in education cuts this school year on Oct. 15 in an attempt to close state's $3 billion projected budget deficit this fiscal year. 

In the letter, the bishops pointed out that in July, General Convention passed a resolution encouraging all Episcopalians to commit 40 hours a year to education. (The All Our Children initiative was started in the New York diocese and is in the process of rolling out nationwide.)

"We are doing our part. We urge the state to do its part by restoring the cuts that will do irreparable harm to our most vulnerable children. As Frederick Douglass so wisely said, "'It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men,'" they said. 

Bishop of New York Mark S. Sisk and Bishop Catherine S. Roskam, bishop suffragan of New York, signed the letter on behalf of the Council of Episcopal Bishops of New York State, which also includes the Bishop of Central New York Gladstone B. Adams III, retired Bishop of Albany David Ball, Bishop of Western New York Michael Garrison, Bishop of Albany William Love, Bishop of Rochester Prince Singh and Bishop Coadjutor of Long Island Lawrence Provenzano.