Pondering the Impact of NY's School Funding Lawsuit | Teachers College Columbia University

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Pondering the Impact of NY's School Funding Lawsuit

In an article in a recent issue of the Village Voice, Michael Rebell, executive director of TC's Campaign for Educational Equity and former lead counsel in the lawsuit that two years ago won billions of additional dollars for New York City's school system, offers a critique of how the money has been used.
TC’s Michael Rebell is extensively quoted in an article in the Village Voice, in which writers Neil deMause and Elizabeth Green examine the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) lawsuit that won for New York City schools billions of dollars and the effect that money has had thus far. Rebell agrees with many of the criticisms that deMause and Green level at the city and state, but not with their assertion that the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit “failed.” Below, Rebell’s letter to the editor of the Voice, and a link to the original Voice story.
Michael’s letter
To the Editor: While I agree with the basic thrust of the Village Voice's recent article, "The Campaign for Fiscal Equity Lawsuit Was the Best Hope for City Schools. It Failed", I must take issue with its conclusion. Clearly, city and state officials have not made the most of the opportunities the CFE decision gave them -- or as the Voice article succinctly puts it, There was "no comprehensive strategy for using the funds, and a paper trail that is, at best, patchwork and, at worst, unreliable," but that does not mean that the CFE lawsuit has ‘failed.’ CFE has pumped money into the system that, among other things, has allowed for a substantial improvement in teacher quality, in facilities improvements and in technology upgrades. Moreover, the case has established constitutional rights that can be used at a time like this to limit or eliminate cuts; and it has established an important constitutional precedent that can be used to build for the future.
Michael A. Rebell

Story link

Published Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009