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A TALE OF TWO STATES: EQUITY OUTPERFORMS INEQUITY

Governor Cuomo says it is not about the money in education, but a comparison of New York and New Jersey demonstrates that money matters in student outcomes

 Legislators and advocates reinforce call for $1.9 billion in new school aid

ALBANY, NY– 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. 

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 shortchanges 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 considerably outperforms New York on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), among all students and also among low-income students in particular.

“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.”

”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.”

 

Press Contact:

Sharon Krengel
Policy and Outreach Director
skrengel@edlawcenter.org
973-624-1815, x 24