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ERIC Number: ED573134
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Nov
Pages: 21
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Students' Constitutional Right to a Sound Basic Education: New York State's Unfinished Agenda. Part 1. A Roadmap to Constitutional Compliance Ten Years after "CFE v. State"
Rebell, Michael A.; Wolff, Jessica R.
Campaign for Educational Equity, Teachers College, Columbia University
Ten years have passed since New York's highest court ruled in the landmark school-funding and educational-rights case, "Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) v. State of New York," that the state was violating students' constitutional right to the "opportunity for a sound basic education" and ordered significant reforms of the state's education financing and accountability systems. Yet, today, hundreds of thousands of New York students, mostly children living in poverty and children of color, still lack full access to the fundamental learning opportunities to which they are entitled under the law. As a result, students leave high school without knowledge and skills that would ready them for competitive employment and help them, as citizens of a democracy, to engage effectively with the civic issues in their communities and in the broader society. New York State needs stronger policies both to remedy present-day violations of students' rights and to safeguard those rights in the future. Implementation of the "CFE" decision is critical to realizing the state's core equal-opportunity values. This report is the first in a series of reports that are the culmination of two years of research by the Campaign for Educational Equity, a policy and research center at Teachers College, Columbia University, and significant input from the Safeguarding Sound Basic Education Task Force, a statewide group made up of representatives from New York's leading statewide education associations, parent organizations, school business officials, and advocacy groups. This report lays out a roadmap to guide state policymakers, the Regents, and the state education department in undertaking the policy reforms needed to guarantee all students the opportunity for a sound basic education. States are called to take the following actions: (1) Define the essential elements of "the opportunity for a sound basic education"; (2) Conduct regular cost studies using a fair, up-to-date methodology that is based on constitutional resource requirements; (3) Reduce barriers to effective spending for essential educational resources to maximize cost effectiveness while safeguarding students' constitutional rights; (4) Revise New York State school-funding formulas and district-funding-distribution rules to guarantee all schools sufficient resources; and (5) Create state and local accountability mechanisms to monitor the provision of the essential resources of a sound basic education. The following is appended: Safeguarding Sound Basic Education Task Force. [For Part 2, see "Filling the Regulatory Gaps" (ED573133). For Part 3, see "Utilizing a Constitutional Cost Methodology" (ED573135). For Part 4, see "Ensuring Resource Accountability" (ED573136).]
Campaign for Educational Equity, Teachers College, Columbia University. Box 219, 525 West 120th Street, New York, NY 10027. Tel: 646-745-8282; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: Booth Ferris Foundation; Robert Sterling Clark Foundation
Authoring Institution: Columbia University, Campaign for Educational Equity
Identifiers - Location: New York (New York)