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TC for the Plaintiffs: Court Declares State Deprives City Students 'A Sound Basic Education' - Annual Report 2001

On January 10, a New York State judge, Leland DeGrasse of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan, declared the state's method of financing public schools illegal, saying it deprives New York City students a "sound, basic education" guaranteed by the State Constitution.
TC for the Plaintiffs: Court Declares State Deprives City Students "A Sound Basic Education"
OnJanuary 10, a New York State judge, Leland DeGrasse of the StateSupreme Court in Manhattan, declared the state's method of financingpublic schools illegal, saying it deprives New York City students a"sound, basic education" guaranteed by the State Constitution.
Theplaintiff, the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE)-a coalition of advocacygroups representing school children, filed the lawsuit that New YorkState's funding system denied hundreds of thousands of New York Cityschool children an adequate education, which "is a constitutionalwrong."
Thejudge's ruling, which capped a seven-year lawsuit; signaled the need toincrease the budget for New York City's schools by $1 billion to $2billion a year, in addition to the current $12 billion in city, stateand federal aid.
Whilethe landmark decision was the work of the CFE and its lawyers, there isa TC connection to the suit, both in the leadership of the CFE and twoprofessors who testified for the plaintiffs, Tom Sobol and Henry Levin.
MichaelA. Rebell, the Executive Director of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity(CFE) is Adjunct Professor of Education in the Department of Educationand Leadership with a joint appointment to Columbia Law. Rebell, whoteaches educational policy and the law, credits the statewide PublicEngagement Process (PEP) with making a major difference in winning thedecision.
"Thispublic input," Rebell added, "strongly influenced what we presented atthe trial. So what you have here is a very unique process where citizeninput was conveyed to us and we conveyed it to Judge DeGrasse and heused much of it in his proposed order."
TomSobol, Christian A. Johnson Outstanding Professor of EducationalPractice is the former New York Commissioner of Education and named asdefendant in the original suit by CFE in 1995. Sobol spoke about thedilemma he faced as Commissioner. After talking to the Board ofRegents, he was able to realign himself in the suit to associate withthe plaintiffs by changing his status to amicus curiae. That gave himthe opportunity to give the plaintiffs access to whatever informationhe had access to.
Sobol'stestimony on the causal link between inadequate school facilities andstudent outcome, was included in Judge Degrasse's 180-page decision.
HenryM. Levin, William Heard Kilpatrick Professor of Economics andEducation, described in his deposition the alarming problem of highschool drop-outs in New York City, noting that in the mid-1990s, thecity's drop-out rate was three times the national average.
Levinoutlined what the enormous drop-out population means to the socialfabric of the city-including lower tax revenues, welfare payments andcrime-and estimated that society would receive a return of $6 for everyadditional dollar in educating at-risk children.

Published Thursday, Jan. 31, 2002

TC for the Plaintiffs: Court Declares State Deprives City Students 'A Sound Basic Education' - Annual Report 2001

TC for the Plaintiffs: Court Declares State Deprives City Students "A Sound Basic Education"
OnJanuary 10, a New York State judge, Leland DeGrasse of the StateSupreme Court in Manhattan, declared the state's method of financingpublic schools illegal, saying it deprives New York City students a"sound, basic education" guaranteed by the State Constitution.
Theplaintiff, the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE)-a coalition of advocacygroups representing school children, filed the lawsuit that New YorkState's funding system denied hundreds of thousands of New York Cityschool children an adequate education, which "is a constitutionalwrong."
Thejudge's ruling, which capped a seven-year lawsuit; signaled the need toincrease the budget for New York City's schools by $1 billion to $2billion a year, in addition to the current $12 billion in city, stateand federal aid.
Whilethe landmark decision was the work of the CFE and its lawyers, there isa TC connection to the suit, both in the leadership of the CFE and twoprofessors who testified for the plaintiffs, Tom Sobol and Henry Levin.
MichaelA. Rebell, the Executive Director of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity(CFE) is Adjunct Professor of Education in the Department of Educationand Leadership with a joint appointment to Columbia Law. Rebell, whoteaches educational policy and the law, credits the statewide PublicEngagement Process (PEP) with making a major difference in winning thedecision.
"Thispublic input," Rebell added, "strongly influenced what we presented atthe trial. So what you have here is a very unique process where citizeninput was conveyed to us and we conveyed it to Judge DeGrasse and heused much of it in his proposed order."
TomSobol, Christian A. Johnson Outstanding Professor of EducationalPractice is the former New York Commissioner of Education and named asdefendant in the original suit by CFE in 1995. Sobol spoke about thedilemma he faced as Commissioner. After talking to the Board ofRegents, he was able to realign himself in the suit to associate withthe plaintiffs by changing his status to amicus curiae. That gave himthe opportunity to give the plaintiffs access to whatever informationhe had access to.
Sobol'stestimony on the causal link between inadequate school facilities andstudent outcome, was included in Judge Degrasse's 180-page decision.
HenryM. Levin, William Heard Kilpatrick Professor of Economics andEducation, described in his deposition the alarming problem of highschool drop-outs in New York City, noting that in the mid-1990s, thecity's drop-out rate was three times the national average.
Levinoutlined what the enormous drop-out population means to the socialfabric of the city-including lower tax revenues, welfare payments andcrime-and estimated that society would receive a return of $6 for everyadditional dollar in educating at-risk children.
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