New York Law School

Archive for March, 2011

Disparities in Public School Funding in New York State: Checking in on Progress since the Campaign for Fiscal Equity Litigation

Disparities in public school funding between schools that teach mostly Black and Latino students and schools that teach mostly white students is institutionalized racism at its core, and is illegal when funding disparities cause students to be denied a “sound, basic education.” This issue is not new to the Courts. Most notably, in the 2006 Campaign for Fiscal Equity v. State of New York (“CFE”) ruling, the New York Court of Appeals declared that New York State’s method for funding schools not only violated the state’s Constitution, but directly harmed children of color, thus violating federal civil rights laws. More recently, in Hussein v. State of New York, a four-member Panel of the Appellate Division, Third Department, unanimously denied the State’s motion to dismiss Hussein’s complaint, allowing a group of parents with children in low-income school districts to proceed with their lawsuit that seeks more education funding from the State. While these court decisions are a step in the right direction for bridging the achievement gap between students of color and their often wealthier white counterparts, recent New York State budget cuts have left low-income schools that serve children of color in similar unequal conditions as they were in pre-CFE litigation.

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