Committee Accuses New York State of Violating Students' Civil Rights 1

Committee Accuses New York State of Violating Students’ Civil Rights

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 17, 2020) — The New York Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released a report, titled Education Equity in New York: A Forgotten Dream, making a number of recommendations to address the civil rights crisis in education in New York State. Chief among the recommendations were fully funding the Foundation Aid formula.

The Alliance for Quality Education responded with the following statement:

Education Equity in New York: A Forgotten Dream accurately captures the racial discrimination in school funding by New York State. The failure of the Governor and state legislature to meet the minimum requirements of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, by refusing to fully fund Foundation Aid, means New York is failing to achieve racial justice in education. The ugly truth about New York revealed in this report shows that Black children in our state are being denied access to a high quality education. Governor Cuomo, the State Assembly and State Senate must immediately right this wrong in the 2020 enacted budget by fully funding the state’s own Foundation Aid formula,” said Jasmine Gripper, Executive Director, Alliance for Quality Education.

“Many recommendations in this report align with the recommendations from NYSED and the demands from AQE. It’s time for state leaders to stop procrastinating on equity and act with urgency to address the systemic racism in school funding.

“These recommendations are grounded in the truth that the chronic underfunding of high-needs schools translates to racial discrimination. Taken together, these recommended changes would finally rip out the roots of systemic racism in our public education system. Since the Governor’s budget fails to propose any solution, the responsibility for addressing the civil rights crisis in our schools lies squarely with the New York State legislature. Our legislators have the power and the moral responsibility to act now.”

We urge the New York State Legislature to adopt the following recommendations of the Advisory Committee:

  1. The New York State legislature should enact, in this legislative session, a budget that includes a substantial increase in revenues per pupil in high-need school districts so that equals at least per pupil spending in low-need districts. At minimum, the legislature should allocate in 2020 the remaining originally promised Foundation Aid.
  2. The New York State legislature should allow experts to revise key elements of the Foundation Aid formula to ensure greater educational equity. Changing how poverty and other needs are counted is one of the ways the report recommends.
  3. The New York State legislature should eliminate the property tax cap.
  4. The New York State legislature should adopt a law that provides for a private right of action based on disparate impact in the provision of educational resources.
  5. The New York State Education Department should provide public access to student-level data on revenues, expenditures and performance outcomes.

Access the full report here.