Monday, November 20, 2006

Court shorts schools

The Court of Appeals decision on the state's contribution to school funding is a step back for kids and parents who want to see their kids go to college, and a step back for New York's ability to compete in the 21st Century economy.

Now it's up to Eliot Spitzer to do the right thing. As a candidate, Spitzer campaigned on ensuring that no child walks out of high school without a diploma. That's a step forward, and an early opportunity for Governor Spitzer to step up big.

Here's the Alliance for Quality Education's response to the CFE decision:
Bargain Basement Price of $1.93 Billion Is Not Enough to Prepare Our Children for College or Today's Job Market

(Albany, NY) - In a statement released today, the Alliance for Quality Education responded to the decision of the New York State Court of Appeals in the historic CFE school funding lawsuit.

The Court of Appeals has today ordered that our state government must provide the funding it has so far failed to provide to meet the minimum floor level funding for the education of New York City's school children. But let us not fool ourselves; we cannot prepare our children for college or today's job market for the bargain-basement price of $1.93 billion.

Governor-elect Eliot Spitzer has committed to invest $4 to $6 billion in New York City's school children and up to $8.5 billion in schools statewide. He has done this because this is the dollar figure that is necessary to fulfill his vision of ensuring that all students have the skills they need to succeed in college and the 21st Century economy.

He has called for smaller classes, expanding the pool of qualified teachers, universal pre-kindergarten, an end to crumbling buildings and more help for children who are falling through the cracks. Governor-elect Eliot Spitzer has made it very clear that he believes in ensuring that no child walks out of high school without a diploma. You cannot do all of this for less than the $8.5 billion that Governor-elect Spitzer has identified as the necessary statewide funding and the $4 to $6 billion for New York City.

Even Governor Pataki, who argued for the $1.93 as the constitutional minimum, advocated for an additional $4.7 billion to fully fund New York City's schools as part of his 2004 education reform plan. The CFE lawsuit was necessary because our elected officials have for too long been willing to accept one in three children across the state leaving high school without a diploma and one in two not graduating in New York City. $1.93 billion will raise student achievement, but it will not solve our graduation crisis. And no one, the court included, is saying it is designed to solve the graduation crisis.

If Governor Spitzer were to redefine his vision from high school graduation, college and success in the job market to the court defined minimum floor-level of education, too many of New York's children will fall further behind. But today he already has rejected that idea and asserted that our school children should expect more than the court ordered minimum. He immediately announced that through his very first budget he will provide more funding than the court ordered minimum.

Despite today's decision, we remain positive in our belief that as Governor, Eliot Spitzer will lead the way in fully funding our schools and providing the education our children need to excel.
Empire Zone has the text of the Court of Appeals CFE decision and Capitol Confidential has reaction from Eliot Spizer and others.

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