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Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Fri, Oct 10, 2003

Governor's Commission Considers Watering Down Regents Standards

CFE opposes lowering standards for NYC students and State spending on duplicate costing-out study

The Governor’s Commission on Education Reform held its first public meeting today in New York City. While CFE supported the creation of a commission, we are deeply concerned that the Governor’s Commission is considering lowering educational standards for New York students and wasting valuable resources through a duplicative costing-out study.

The first item on the Commission’s working agenda was whether to consider watering down the Regents Learning Standards and reinstating local diplomas, which will not guarantee that all students learn high-level skills. CFE is particularly concerned that instead of taking the necessary steps to improve the state’s funding system and provide all students the opportunity to meet high standards, the Commission is considering lowering standards to meet available funding. New York’s Regents Standards are recognized as the best in the country by Education Week and other independent authorities, while its education finance system is ranked among the worst.

CFE is also troubled by the Commission’s announcement that it will undertake its own costing-out study, in a fruitless attempt to duplicate the New York Adequacy Study, an independent cutting-edge costing-out study initiated by CFE, the New York State School Boards Association, the Business Council, and 30 other partner organizations around the state. On September 7, Commission Chairman Frank Zarb told the New York Times, "I see absolutely no need to duplicate other efforts,” not making use of the New York Adequacy Study's figures "would be illogical." The sixteen-month New York Adequacy Study is two months from completion, and its cost of $1.5 million has been funded entirely by private foundation support.

Expressing his disappointment in the Commission’s first efforts, CFE Executive Director, Michael A. Rebell said, “These efforts to squeeze 16 months of research into the 4 to 5 months available to the Commission, may compromise research standards and constitutes a waste of limited public resources.”

In order to ensure effective statewide implementation of the CFE decision, CFE urges the Governor and his Commission:

1) to maintain the Regents Learning standards as the expertly-crafted and quality educational standards for the state of New York; and

2) to capitalize on the cutting-edge New York Adequacy Study findings of what it costs to educate a child in New York State.

Parents from across the state march on the Capitol in Albany to show support for CFE.
CFE Litigation CFE v. State of New York
In 2006, after 13 years in the Courts, the New York State Court of Appeals affirmed the right of every public school student in New York to the opportunity for a sound basic education and the state’s responsibility to adequately fund this right, but deferred to the Governor and the Legislature to determine the appropriate amount. more >