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Champion of School Funding to Speak at New York State League of Women Voters Symposium

"New York State continues to fail to provide students with their constitutional right -- the cost of which, to both the individual and to society, is enormous," says Michael Rebell

What are the costs to society of New York State's chronic failure to adequately educate its students?

Michael A. Rebell, Executive Director of The Campaign for Educational Equity, Teachers College, Columbia University, will address that question this coming Monday evening, January 30th, at a symposium hosted by the League of Women Voters of New York State in Albany. Rebell, who is also lead counsel for the plaintiffs in a decade-long lawsuit to compel the state to provide more funding for New York City schools, will also discuss the proposed Schools for New York's Future Act, which would reform the state's unconstitutional funding formula statewide.

"The value of staying in school has never been greater," said Rebell.  According to new data recently compiled by The Campaign for Educational Equity, a high school dropout today will earn a projected $260,000 less over his or her lifetime than a student who receives a high school diploma.  The collective cost to society is an estimated loss of $84 billion in tax revenue.  According to Rebell, "increasing the high school completion rate by a mere one percent for men ages 20 -- 60, could save the U.S. up to $1.4 billion per year in reduced cost from crime."  The health-related losses for the estimated 600,000 high school dropouts in 2004 totaled at least $58 billion -- or nearly $100,000 per dropout.

"The Governor's failure to deny the children of this state their constitutional right to an adequate education is unconscionable.  But even if the Governor is moved by neither his conscience nor the New York State Constitution, he should recognize that the sad state of education in New York State is bad for the economy," urged Rebell.
"In light of the two billion dollar surplus that the Governor announced in his State of the State address earlier this month, he must sit down with the state legislature and negotiate a way to adequately and equitably fund New York State's schools," said Rebell  And there is a legislative vehicle that would do precisely that. "Last year, the New York State Assembly introduced a bill with 60 co-sponsors from across the state: The Schools for New York's Futures Act.  This legislation would provide substantial increases not just to New York City schools but to hundreds of districts across the state and would also make comprehensive reforms to the state's unconstitutional funding formula," said Rebell.

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