The Campaign for Educational Equity Releases Safeguarding Sound Basic Education Reports
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 a sound basic 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.
The second report, 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 exposed the alarming extent to which New York has denied its most vulnerable students the opportunity to receive a college- and career-ready education. For example, 13 schools reported that they were not providing sufficient instruction to meet the minimum state requirements in science, and out of the 12 high schools in the sample, 11 did not provide college readiness counseling and supports. None of the schools provided the required academic support services for students who fall short of the state’s proficiency standards.
The authors of the report conclude that:
Since the “state” is constitutionally responsible for this tragic situation, the governor, the legislature, and the Regents need to respond promptly and aggressively to meet the students’ critical educational needs. The governor and the legislature must fairly confront the blatant violations of constitutional rights they have created by cutting educational appropriations in recent years without undertaking any analyses of what impact these across-the-board budget cuts would have on thousands of students at the actual school level. The state authorities have respected their constitutional obligation to balance the state budget, but, at the same time, they have grossly neglected their equally obligatory constitutional duty to ensure that all students are provided the opportunity for a sound basic education. The Campaign held two major conferences this month, one in Albany and one in Manhattan, during which participants discussed the findings as well as strategies for promoting constitutional compliance.
Published Friday, Feb. 22, 2013