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Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Mon, Jan 21, 2008

Statement by Geri D. Palast on CEJ's "Our Kids Can’t Wait" Report

CFE comments on the Coalition for Educational Justice's report analyzing middle schools in the City of New York

"Middle school students, particularly low income and students of color, are among the most vulnerable in New York's public school system, and the achievement gap is widening. CFE joins CEJ and this broad coalition and calls on New York City to ensure that these high needs kids in low performing schools have access to the best teachers, instructional programs that provide challenging academic content and learning opportunities, and intervention programs to help those students at-risk of not meeting learning standards. The Campaign For Fiscal Equity court order and the landmark budget and accountability legislation of 2007 were designed to correct these persistent inequities. Still in 2007, only 40% of the 219 middle schools that received NYC Contract for Excellence (CFE) dollars were low performing. In 2008, we face two challenges—we must ensure that the funds committed by Albany to resolve the CFE suit are appropriated, and that these funds combined with other education dollars are invested in low performing middle schools to ready high-needs students for high school and college. CEJ's report is a stark reminder that the work of providing the constitutional right to a sound basic education for all children and achieving the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King is yet to be realized. Together, we will make sure that 200 low performing schools are prioritized for the CEJ Middle School Initiative. Committed funding increases for education must be immunized from claims of tight budgets and economic downturns. The school children of New York waited 14 years for funding to turn their constitutional right into a reality. The cost of delay is paid by the kids. They can't wait, nor can we."

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 >