A big thanks to the community members who joined our meeting last week, and to:
* Maria Bautista, Alliance for Quality Education (School funding & the Campaign for Fiscal Equity)
* Joe Rogers, Jr., Campaign for Educational Equity (Students’ educational rights)
* Jia Li and Kemala Karmen (Parents’ testing rights)
School Funding & Charter School Updates
* Governor Cuomo’s and the state senate’s budget proposals would strip funding from city schools, change poverty formulas…Negotiations in Albany are ongoing (New York City Schools Continue to See Shortfall in Foundation Aid, IBO, 3/17)
* Join a rally at Cuomo’s office today at 4:30pm to demand full Foundation Aid funding, maintain the charter cap, and limit charter aid. 4/5/17, 633 3rd Ave. b/w 40th & 41st.
* The 2014 act changing the charter school funding formula expires this year (With State Formula for Charter School Funding Likely to Change, City Costs to Grow More Than Budgeted* (from $159 million to $220 million), IBO, 3/17). *Encouragingly, the latest reports from Albany indicate this change may not happen, and that the charter cap may remain in place.
* Board of Regents members discussed how charter schools under-enroll high-needs students and contribute to segregation (Chalkbeat, 4/3/17)
“It seems to me that there is something out of sync,” said Regent Lester Young. “How do you have a framework that allows this to happen?”
Regent Judith Johnson made a similar point. “I’m concerned that what we are doing here is continuing to support the segregation of schools,” she said. “I sometimes get emotional about this because I don’t understand why we continue to support programs like this that violate the principles that we stand for in public education.”
* The DOE says the 2018 budget would raise the Fair Student Funding floor from 87% to 90% for all schools. FSF is supposed to provide equity in school-based funding allocations. But the formula weights are inadequate to provide necessary services to the highest needs categories of students. Categories such as Students in Temporary Housing are excluded from the formula; all of our schools should be funded at the 100% FSF level; the formula makes veteran teachers’ salaries prohibitive for many schools; schools often over-enroll students to maximize funding rather than capping class sizes.
* To share feedback on the FSF formula with the DOE, send comments by April 18, 2017 to BudgetPublicComments@schools.nyc.gov, 212-374-6754, or Karma Wilson, Office of Finance, 52 Chambers Street, Room 319, NY, NY 10007. The Panel for Educational Policy will vote on the FSF formula at its meeting on April 19th (6:00pm at Long Island City High School 14-30 Broadway, Queens, NY 11106).
Educational Rights Resolution
At last week’s meeting, we passed a resolution to inform New York City families about students’ educational rights under state law, which include:
* sufficient numbers of qualified teachers, principals, and other personnel
* suitable and up-to-date curricula, including an expanded platform of programs to help students who are at risk of academic failure
* adequate resources for students with disabilities and English-language learners
* appropriate class sizes
* sufficient and up-to-date books, supplies, libraries, educational technology, and laboratories
* a safe and orderly environment
* adequate and accessible school buildings.
The resolution calls for New York City and State’s elected and education officials to publish thorough, user-friendly information about students’ educational rights and provide all New York City public school families with a copy of the publication by September 2017.
Campaign for Educational Equity
* CEE’s blog, which features the presentation Students’ Constitutional Right to a Sound Basic Education: New York’s Unfinished Agenda.
* CEE’s Know Your Educational Rights handout series and educational-rights publications.
* Sign up for CEE’s e-newsletter and consider following/liking CEE on Facebook and/or Twitter.
Alliance for Quality Education
Check out the AQE site for school funding news, including: “Senate Republicans & IDC Stall State Budget Negotiations Over Charter School Tuition Funding.”
Change the Stakes, NYC Opt Out and NYS Allies for Public Education
See NYSAPE’s “Response to Commissioner Elia’s Toolkit“, “How NYSED Should Count Opt-Outs…”, and additional resources to help parents exercise their rights in relation to standardized testing.