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Safeguarding Sound Basic Education Project - Overview

The recent recession has had a devastating impact on the educational opportunities of students, particularly those from low-income households. Many schools around the state currently lack the basic educational resources they need to provide their students the opportunity for a sound basic education guaranteed by the state constitution. The effects have been especially acute on students in New York City. The state’s recent small funding increases have done almost nothing to remedy the vast resource gaps identified by the courts in the CFE litigation and then exacerbated by deep funding cuts over the past five years.
In spite of the Governor Cuomo’s appointment of an education reform commission with a broad mandate to improve New York’s schools, almost no serious attention has been given to the critical issue of constitutional compliance to ensure that all students have what they need to succeed in school -- or to the specific actions that need to be taken to achieve this. The Safeguarding Sound Basic Education project strives to fill this gap.
Since April 2011, the Campaign has been conducting research, legal and policy analysis, and public engagement with the goal of producing new information, legal strategies, policy proposals, and advocacy tools to safeguard the right of New York students to a sound basic education. We have published a constitutional analysis of children’s right to a sound basic education in difficult economic times, conducted statewide research amassing evidence about the availability of essential resources and services in high needs schools, developed and published an authoritative analysis of all of the relevant judicial, legislative, and regulatory require­ments that relate to constitutional compliance and implementation of the New York State Learning Standards, and forged a new statewide alliance of supporters.