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Thursday, November 29, 2012

CFE may sue for money owed & lessons learned re accountability and oversight

Exciting news! The Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) announced in a letter today that it was considering re-opening the lawsuit against New York State, on the basis that the funding promised NYC and other high-needs school districts has never been fulfilled.

The current plan puts off full funding "until at least 16 years from now, in 2028. Thus, two more generations of New York children will pass through our schools before the State even begins to approach meeting its constitutional obligation to adequately fund its public schools through implementation of the CFE remedy."

See the letter below, from David Sciarra of the Education Law Center, which has taken over the case, to the Governor and the leaders of the NY Legislature.

Coincidentally,  I  gave a class on CFE  Monday night at Princeton, for  a course on urban education policy.  See my powerpoint  below the Sciarra letter, in which I  summarize the history of the case, as well as where it fell short in my view, in terms of class size, public process, accountability and compliance.

Even in the first few years, when NYC did get all the extra funding that had been promised, class sizes also increased -- despite a provision in the state law requiring that the city be reducing class size in exchange for the funds.

Lessons learned:  
  • How money is spent is as important as the extra funding;
  • Enforcement, compliance and accountability mechanisms are critical;
  •  Do not rely on any city or state governmental body to do any of the above;
  • This time, continuing court oversight should be required, to ensure that the specific conditions that the court found deprived children of their constitutional right to a sound basic education are addressed, including class size.
  • 2012 Nov CFE Ltr Re 2013-14 Budget Final Lessons from CFE

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