ALBANY, N.Y., Feb. 11 -- The Alliance for Quality Education issued the following news release:
A new report provides evidence that flies in the face of Governor Cuomo's repeated assertions that "it is not about the money" in schools. The report finds that on school funding and student performance New York compares quite unfavorably with neighboring New Jersey. The "Tale of Two States" report examines funding levels, the all-important way that funds are distributed, and the results - stark disparities in student test scores and graduation rates. The report was prepared by the Campaign for Fiscal Equity Project at Education Law Center, the Alliance for Quality Education and Public Policy & Education Fund. For the full report, click here (http://www.aqeny.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Tale-of-Two-States-Report_FINAL.pdf). For the executive summary, click here (http://www.aqeny.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Executive-Summary.pdf).
Both states are high spending-New York ranks second among states and New Jersey ranks fifth. However, while New Jersey is a leader in educational equality, New York is a laggard. New York spends 87 cents in high need districts for every dollar spent in high-wealth, low poverty schools. New Jersey spends $1.42 in high need districts for every dollar spent on more affluent students. New York's high average spending masks major differences in funding from district to district that shortchange high need students of educational opportunities.
New York's inequitable funding distribution leads to lower student performance, in sharp contrast to New Jersey's higher performance due to its equitable funding. For all groups of students, New Jersey significantly outperforms New York largely due to the fairness of its funding system. Low-income students, students with disabilities, students with limited English proficiencies, Black students and Hispanic students in New Jersey have graduation rates ranging from seven percentage points to twenty-nine percentage points higher than in New York. These are the very students most hurt by New York's unfair funding system. New Jersey also considerably outperforms New York on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), among all groups, but especially among low-income students.
"Ignoring the needs of New York's students has produced shameful results, as the 'Tale of Two States' report shows," said Chairman of the Black, Hispanic, Puerto Rican and Asian Legislative Caucus Karim Camara. "Inequity in this state has produced a wide gap between the haves and have nots, which continues to grow each year that the state ignores the Campaign for Fiscal Equity. Just across the river in New Jersey, we have a great example of how to close that gap. Let's take a lesson from our neighbors and stop the inequality."
"I am disappointed that New Jersey's education system does so much better than New York's when it comes to educating Latinos, African Americans and English language learner students," said Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz, Chairman of the NYS Assembly/Senate Puerto Rican & Hispanic Task Force. "This report makes it clear that money matters when it comes to closing the educational achievement gap. I support $1.9 billion in school aid that is fairly distributed based on student need."
"As a New Yorker it hurts to say I am jealous of New Jersey, but they are clearly beating us when it comes to educational equity," said Billy Easton, Executive Director of the Alliance for Quality Education. "For Governor Cuomo to keep saying money does not matter in education is simply ignoring the facts of educational inequality in New York. New Jersey's higher spending in high poverty schools results in substantially higher graduation rates."
"New Jersey stands out as a beacon of educational equity," said David Sciarra, Executive Director of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity, a project of the Education Law Center. "Its commitment to fair school funding pays huge dividends in outcomes for kids. By contrast, New York's continued failure to support fair funding for schools shortchanges students in high needs schools of educational opportunities leading to significantly lower graduation rates than in New Jersey's high needs communities. The Governor's budget proposal is entirely inadequate to address this educational inequality, the legislature must act now to increase school aid by $1.9 billion and make sure it is fairly distributed."
"New York State is one of the least equitable states in the country in supporting public schools," said Robert Biggerstaff, executive director of the NYS Association of Small City School Districts. "Small city school districts spend $2,000 less per pupil than the average district despite the fact that their school tax rates are 15 percent higher than the state average. It is no surprise therefore that according to the state's own aid formula, two thirds of them are classified as not successful. One example is Utica City School District which has by far the highest student need and the lowest graduation rate in Oneida County yet it spends the least per pupil among the county's districts. That is the reason eight of the small city districts have had to resort to litigation and the court. The Small Cities case is headed to trial in September, and these districts are seeking a judgment which will provide their students the resources they need to fulfill their potential in school and the workplace."
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