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Page history last edited by PBworks 17 years, 11 months ago

Education as a Right


Education is specifically guaranteed in many legal documents, including the New York State Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As equal protection is also guaranteed under the law, it follows suit that our educational systems must provide all citizens equal access to quality schools.


In the New York State Constitution, the education is guaranteed in Article XI as follows, “The legislature shall provide for the maintenance and support of a system of free common schools, wherein all the children of this state may be educated.”


The International Declaration of Human Rights goes a step further, guaranteeing equal protection and by enumerating the right to an education and what can be attained through it. It states that:


“Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.”


It also guarantees the right to an adequate standard of living, which is made possible through educational attainment.


New York State and Education


In a special report by the Education Trust, “The Funding Gap 2005: Low-Income and Minority Students Shortchanged by Most States,” New York was found to have the largest gap of all States between revenues available per student in the highest and lowest poverty districts for 2003 with no adjustment for low-income students. By the same study, with adjustments for poverty of 40%, New York was found to have the largest gap in revenues between both low-poverty and high-poverty districts as well as between low-minority and high-minority districts.



It is clear that New York, despite the large amount that it does spend per pupil compared to other states, distributes aid quite inequitably. There is a systematic approach to funding in the State that discriminates against low-income and minority communities that must be corrected. This can only be done through an increase in state aid to schools and lessening the dependence on local property taxes


__New York, Charter Schools and the Privatization of Education__


The charter school movement in New York State is part of a larger movement that is enabling the outsourcing of educational services to the for-profit sector. No Child Left Behind has a provision that allows failing schools to receive federal funding for private tutoring services, or to be converted into charter schools that are run by non-profit entities or for-profit education management organizations.


It is not widely known that charter schools are increasingly being run by for-profit institutions. However, educational management organizations such as Edison Schools are increasing their market shares, consolidating with other for-profit education companies and creating tremendous political pressure through large-scale advertizing campaigns and political contributions.


The city of Albany is an example of the fiscal woes that are created by the establishment of charter schools. When the last charter school that was approved for Albany is open, charter schools will make up one third of all schools in the district. In this year's school budget, charter school payments make up 44% of spending increases. The property tax was raised substantially to pay for the creation of more charter schools. The local burden is quite large, and Albany citizens are beginning to question the fairness of state-imposed charter schools (charter schools can be created without consulting their respective communities by the Board of Regents or SUNY). Superintendent Eva Joseph and Mayor Jerry Jennings have called for a moratorium on the creation of charter schools in the city of Albany.


It is clear that the educational system in New York State is in need of large-scale reform. However, charter schools do not appear to be the answer for Albany, and instead are exacerbating the problem.


__Resource Links__





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