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'things need to change'
September 19, 2019
As León vows improvements, here are 5 issues facing special education in Newark’s schools
Newark schools chief Roger León has promised to make many long-needed changes, but perhaps the biggest promise he’s made is to fix the city’s special education program.
state of school funding
July 31, 2019
The other school funding divide: States with more poor students tend to spend less, creating hard-to-fix disparities
A key driver of school funding inequity is one that is harder to see and might be harder to fix: massive differences in spending between states.
March 4, 2019
Most NJ students in poor areas attend underfunded schools, report shows, even as Murphy promises to boost education spending
Even with a funding boost from the state, schools in high-poverty districts like Newark get less money than schools in wealthier districts with more tax revenue.
Show me the money
March 12, 2018
We read new reports on the state of school funding in America so you don’t have to. Here’s what we learned.
While poor students necessarily don’t get less money than their affluent peers, they usually don’t get extra money for addressing additional needs.
Show me the money
September 6, 2016
Three low-performing New York City schools are owed millions in funding, lawsuit claims
"There is nothing to permit the Governor, through the Division of Budget, to withhold funds."
July 23, 2013
Federal civil rights office reopens high school admissions case
The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights has reopened a discrimination case into the city's high school admissions policies after dismissing it earlier in the month. The reversal came after the attorney who filed the legal complaint found that the office failed to follow its own dismissal procedures and argued for the case to be given new life. The complaint, filed in May by the Education Law Center on behalf of parents and advocacy groups, alleges that African American and Latino students are more likely to end up in high schools with large numbers of high-need students — and less likely to graduate — on account of the city's admissions policy. It claims that the city knew the policy was discriminatory, citing internal reports that suggested changes should be made to dilute the high-need populations in these schools. New York's Office of Civil Rights branch dismissed the complaint on July 8, citing a lack of evidence to support the claim. But the quick dismissal skipped a step in the process by failing to first notify lawyers who filed the complaint to let them know that more information was needed, which is required under OCR's processing manual. Wendy Lecker, the ELC lawyer, discovered the discrepancy and raised the issue in a July 17 letter: I never received any letter or email explaining the information necessary for OCR to proceed, nor any request for such information. Nor was I ever advised that the complaint would be dismissed in 20 days if such information was not received. On the same day, an OCR official responded to say that the case woud be reopened.
July 12, 2013
DOE cleared of one civil rights charge while another one stalls
A protest hosted by StudentsFirst NY this week on the steps of Tweed Courthouse (StudentsFirst NY twitter) Students and teachers are off for the summer, but the city Department of Education's legal office was kept on high alert this week. First, lawyers received word that discrimination charges against the city's high school admissions process would be dismissed by a federal civil rights office. Then, StudentsFirstNY, an advocacy group with close ties to the Bloomberg administration, announced it would slap the city with a new complaint, alleging inequity in the way teachers are distributed teacher quality in the city. So far, that complaint has yet to be filed, three days after the group organized dozens of people to protest the issue on the department's steps at Tweed Courthouse. A StudentsFirst NY spokeswoman said the group's lawyers were still reviewing the complaint, but she would not say if there are still plans to file it at all. If so, it would be at least the fourth discrimination charge filed with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights in the last year. A complaint against the policies for admission into top-tier high schools and for closing schools were also submitted.
December 5, 2012
Group seeking mandated aid for needy districts heads to Albany
City Councilman Robert Jackson, an original plaintiff in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit, joined advocates to renew their push to secure funding from the state for high-need schools. Chancellor Dennis Walcott was not the only one fretting about the city's school funding today. While Walcott was warning about the potential loss of new funds, longtime advocates were preparing to board a bus for Albany to call for the state to settle an old tab.
June 8, 2011
Tectonic shift as Campaign for Fiscal Equity exits New York
The Campaign for Fiscal Equity, the advocacy organization whose historic, years-long lawsuit brought increased funding to the New York City schools, is closing its doors — at least in its current format, The New York Times reported this afternoon. The organization's last employee, Executive Director Helaine Doran, will leave at the end of the month because the group has run out of funding, the Times reports. The development comes despite the fact that the dollars won by the group's lawsuit have fallen far short of what was promised in a settlement between the group and the state in 2007. The Times is right to describe the development as part of a greater shift in the way that philanthropists think about education advocacy, one that has made groups like former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee's Students First active in New York City while the Campaign for Fiscal Equity struggled. The old mantra was that urban districts failed because they have been historically under-funded; now, advocates are more likely to argue that funding is necessary but not sufficient. (Another budget watchdog, the Educational Priorities Panel, dissolved in 2007, also due to a loss of funding.) But it's also possible that the dissolution of CFE could actually signal a renaissance of its original efforts: litigation aimed at forcing New York to spend more on needy school districts.
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