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Safeguarding Students' Educational Rights

Setting the Record Straight: The Truth About School Funding in New York State

Authors: Michael A. Rebell and Jessica R. Wolff
Published: February 2014

It is important to separate rhetoric and reality in today's debates over school funding. To help New Yorkers participate in this important discussion,CEE provides some facts to dispel some current school-funding myths.

Safeguarding the Right to a Sound Basic Education in Times of Fiscal Constraint
Author(s): Michael A. Rebell
Published: Albany Law Review, Volume 75, Number 4, June 2012
Michael Rebell's legal treatise on judicial responses to budget cuts illustrates that constitutional rights cannot be put on hold because of a recession. Rebell suggests that to succeed in future school funding cases, advocates and attorneys will need todemonstrate that the funding levels they seek in order to provide meaningful educational opportunities to all students are based on cost-efficient and cost-effective educational practices. But while he acknowledges that judges are sensitive to changed economic circumstances, he emphasizes that state has a constitutional burden of proof to demonstrate that all public school students are, in fact, receiving the opportunity for a sound basic education.

Reviewing Resources: An Assessment of the Availability of Basic Educational Resources in High-Needs New York City Schools
Author(s): Jessica R. Wolff, Joseph R. Rogers, Jr., and Jaunelle Pratt
Published: The Campaign for Educational Equity, March 2012

Reviewing Resources is a preliminary report for the Campaign for Educational Equity's Safeguarding Sound Basic Education project. Based on interviews with school personnel from 34 high-needs New York City schools, the research highlights serious gaps in schools' ability to provide suitable curricula for all students, appropriate supports for struggling students, resources for improving teacher quality and a safe, orderly environment for learning.

Essential Resources: The Constitutional Requirements for Providing All Students in New York State the Opportunity for a Sound Basic Education
Author(s): Michael Rebell, with assistance provided by Jessica R. Wolff and Joseph R. Rogers, Jr.
Published: The Campaign for Educational Equity, December 10, 2012

In absence of an existing framework to assess the state’s compliance with the court order in Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) v. State of New York, which guarantees all students the right to an adequate education, the Campaign’s first report creates an operational definition for sound basic education. Drawing on relevant state statutes, regulations and judiciary requirements, Essential Resources focuses on eight specific areas to which students are constitutionally entitled, including qualified teachers, services for “at-risk students” and students with disabilities, class sizes, and instrumentalities of learning.   

Deficient Resources: An Analysis of the Availability of Basic Educational Resources in High-Needs Schools in Eight New York State School Districts
Author(s): Michael A. Rebell, Jessica R. Wolff, and Joseph R. Rogers, Jr.
Published: The Campaign for Educational Equity, December 10, 2012
Deficient Resources documents the availability --- or, as it turns out in most areas, the unavailability --- of these essential resources in 33 high-needs schools in New York, including elementary, middle, and high schools in all five New York City boroughs and in all geographic areas of the state. Through interviews and in-depth analysis of these schools, researchers at the Campaign exposes the alarming extent to which New York has denied its most vulnerable students the opportunity to receive a college- and career-ready education.

Know Your Educational Rights Handouts
The Campaign for Educational Equity undertook an extensive research project investigating educational inadequacies in high-needs schools around the state and published findings about widespread violations of many students’ educational rights. The Know Your Educational Rights handouts are a series of user-friendly research briefs that summarize our key findings. You will find below handouts on physical education, instructional materials, and class size. Stay tuned for handouts on school libraries, resources for English Language Learners, academic intervention services, and more. Please share them with your school and community!