Youth and Education

I grew up as a student of the Hudson City School District. I attended public schools like John L. Edwards and the district’s Alternative Learning Program, housed in trailers behind Greenport School. One of my first advocacy efforts was to keep that program fully funded. Sadly, that program, John L. Edwards, and Greenport have been closed, with many other schools shuttered across the Hudson Valley due to budget cuts.

As a single teen mom, I struggled to attend SUNY Empire while putting food on the table for my family. I worked hard to earn my GED and begin my career as an educator, leading afterschool programs for the school district and running summer workshops as part of the Kite’s Nest Social Justice Leadership Academy.

My career in youth advocacy began when I spoke at a 2013 Hudson Common Council meeting against reducing basketball court hours for teenagers.That inspired me to start and lead my own weekly youth program called Space 101. Since then, I’ve worked to keep children in our communities and out of jails by winning local juvenile justice reforms and creating alternatives to incarceration for youth. 

As a mom and educator, I know that there’s no better investment than in our kids. That’s why I’m fighting to:

  • Fully fund our public schools and invest in programs for our kids and teens.  I favor keeping the “hold harmless” policy to guarantee that school districts do not get Foundation Aid cuts.
  • Fully fund and eliminate tuition at SUNY colleges. Everyone should be able to attend a quality public college, regardless of their income.
  • End over-reliance on school discipline. The Solutions Not Suspensions Act would limit how schools use suspensions, which will protect our children from being unnecessarily punished and forced out of the classroom.
  • Pass the Universal School Meals Act. All students deserve access to nutritional meals so they can succeed at school and in life.

Compare to Didi Barrett’s record:

During her decade in office, Barrett has failed working families by:

  • Voting with Republicans against Nicholas’s Law, which requires gun owners to safely store their firearms out of the hands of children.
  • Voting for the April 2020 state budget, which allowed Governor Andrew Cuomo to slash school budgets by 20% a few months later.