During this Pandemic, a few things have been exposed. One of them is this city's and the Department of Educations capability to be able to provide Apple IPads that are Wifi and Cellular powered by T-Mobile with 32GB of space with all of the necessary apps already downloaded. When we demanded adequate access to technology and adequate online access for students in underserved communities, we heard nothing but lip service and lies from the Department of Education, Chancellor Carranza, Mayor De'Blasio and several City Council Members. They made it seem as if there was no way to make this all happen and that our ask was too much.
The City's roll out of distance learning when it came to making sure that every student, especially those who live in shelters received an Ipad in time for distance learning was very unorganized. Teachers and students still pushed through to make it work. The distribution of Ipads has now confirmed that the City can do what we demanded of them to do for our underserved youth. Their priorities however are not on the well being and education of our children. It is now time to hold their feet to the fire and have them focus on the needs of the children and not trying to keep the budget going for the interests of special interest groups and lobbyists.
Recently in an online meeting, a community member asked my opponent if the Ipads will be in continuous usage from this point on to continue to provide access for the youth. The reply vexed me. The reply was that the City will be taking back the Ipads after the pandemic. There was no thought put into it or even consideration about fighting for the Ipads to stay with the students. 35 Council Members, including my opponent voted to build 4 new jails and to set aside a budget of over $11 Billion dollars for this expansion of mass incarceration, but yet they fail to fund our schools and the resources that our youth need. They cry out about gun and gang violence, but yet they continue to keep the cycle going to fill these jails with our youth, by failing to provide the tools and mechanisms needed to keep them out of jail. Education and access to an adequate education is key to many of the issues.
Anthony Beckford's "Access For All" Proposal:
- Cut the $11 Billion budget for the mass incarceration project.
- Utilize those funds to create Free Afterschool and Summer Programs.
- Issue out Ipads and Macbooks to all students.
- Work with Internet providers to provide all students with Free Cellular and Wifi access on all Ipads.
- Repair our schools and Provide Clean Water Stations in the school for students.
- Expand on the Student Lunch Program to provide more Nutritious Meals and Weekend and Summer Food Drop Off Options for All Families in Need.
- Provide funding to restart Music and Social Enrichment Classes in All Schools.
- Eliminate Overcrowding in Schools and Classrooms.
- Provide more funding for S.T.E.M Programs.
- Restart Vocational Training Programs in All High Schools and expand to Junior High School.
These are just a few of my proposals. I look forward to making sure that the future of our youth is a priority and that they are no longer left behind.
*Anthony Beckford is a Disabled U.S. Marine Corps Veteran, Single Father, Former UFT Member, Community Leader and Candidate for the 45th City Council District (Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood, Marine Park, Flatlands, Kensington)