Students from Small Westchester Communities Present Compelling Trial Evidence of Educational Harm

eHezi Education, Law 1 Comment

Microsoft Word - ELC Abstract_FINAL.docALBANY, NY — March 3, 2015 — Over five weeks of trial, the student plaintiffs in Maisto, et al. v. State of New York — known as the “Small Cities” case —presented evidence to Supreme Court Judge Kimberly O’Connor in support of their claim that the State of New York has failed to provide them with a meaningful opportunity for a high school education, in violation of their right to a “sound basic education” under the New York Constitution.

Student writing on a blackboard.

Student writing on a blackboard.

The plaintiff students attend public schools in Utica, Poughkeepsie, Mount Vernon, Jamestown, Niagara Falls, Port Jervis, Kingston and Newburgh. Over the next several weeks, the New York Attorney General will present the State’s defense.

Witnesses for the students provided substantial evidence on three core elements proving the absence of a sound basic education: deficits in essential resources, low outcomes, and inadequate State funding as a cause of the severe resource and outcome gaps in their schools. District superintendents and experienced educators testified about the lack of adequate teachers, staff, facilities, curriculum, reasonable class sizes and interventions for at-risk students. They also noted the poor performance on state assessments and low graduation rates in these districts.

Testimony covered all eight Small Cities districts and painted a clear picture of the stark education gaps in these schools. Witnesses testified about the educational barriers faced by children in these high-poverty schools and the districts’ inability to provide students with the essential staff, programs and services necessary for academic success as a result of State funding cuts and shortfalls over the past several years.

In addition, New York education experts, who examined data and conditions in each district, offered detailed evidence of the resource, outcome and funding deficits in the districts. School finance experts also testified about the gross underfunding of the Foundation Aid Formula enacted by the Legislature in 2007 to adequately fund a sound basic education. Dr. Bruce Baker of Rutgers University and a nationally recognized expert in public school finance presented a comprehensive analysis of the State’s funding failures.

During the trial, attorneys for the Small Cities students and the Attorney General entered into an agreement on the funding gaps in each district since 2010-11. The figures below represent the additional funding each district would have received over the last five years if NY State’s “Gap Elimination Adjustment” cuts had not occurred, and the Foundation Formula had been fully funded:
Mount Vernon……………………$116,562,168


Poughkeepsie…………………….$ 79,910,738

Port Jervis…………………………$ 67,380,908

Niagara Falls……………………..$128,976,854



Kingston……………………………$ 80,233,685

Lead trial counsel for the Small Cities students are Gregory Little, a partner at the White & Case law firm in New York City, and William Reynolds of the Albany-based Bond, Schoeneck and King. The trial team also includes David Sciarra and Wendy Lecker of the Education Law Center; Megan Mercy, associate counsel at NY State United Teachers (NYSUT); and Robert Biggerstaff, Director of the Small Cities District Association. The trial team is assisted by associates at White & Case and Jessica Levin at ELC.

SOURCE: Education Law Center

eHeziStudents from Small Westchester Communities Present Compelling Trial Evidence of Educational Harm

Comments 1

  1. A sound BASIC education means a very basic structure done through a cost saving means of one teacher in front of many students, a direct instruction model. This demands that the parents be very involved in their responsibility, which is the education of their child.
    If a parent wants more than this basic education, they will usually pay someone else to do this, because labor is expensive, hence private education systems, such as tutoring, private schools etc.
    In the public school arena, children can do well, regardless of the education of the parents, if the parents participate in detail with how their child is being formed. And it is the responsibility of the parent to investigate what forming a child means in practice. Asking the schools to do this is not the model in the design of public education. In other words, public education works when parents are extremely involved with the forming of the child, and this is by design, because it is cost effective- this is how it works, to help working parents. Administrators and teachers who stand up and make this clear, with courage, and together, help the community. If administrators do not do this, and avoid this, and only act to placate, do no one any favors and show a lack of conceptual ability, which begs the question as to what is being taught, because in not doing this there is an absence of critical and creative thinking in practice.
    We know that the foundation of the child, must have exposure and opportunity to understand this world, and that an absence of this is the absence of a sound foundational structure as an experiential map the can be built upon to move in beneficial critical processing skill sets – executive functions- that lead to transforming our world in creative ways to develop values that benefit all our lives. This would be a fluid intelligence, a mindfulness that was able to function in practical ways- which is how things get done.
    We have to ask ourselves if this old tech, as our public school systems, even fits into this modern world, where automation will take over many of the jobs the information-without-practical-application being taught in our schools builds within a child. If we continue to move as actions of blame, demanding something outside of ourselves, we will continue to do the same thing again and again, expecting change, when this is an impossibility, as the model must change overall for a different outcome.
    The parents are the only ones, in space and time who can watch and care for the developmental cognitive map of their children, because they spend the most time with them. The schools/teachers can be there to see this in tiny moments, but cannot catch this in every child, they cannot see this in the direct instruction to a group model, and the costs for one on one instruction are too great in our present economic model. And all of this, having to be explained, means that we are not conceptually seeing what we are existing as, and no one can be blamed for this but ourselves, each of us, because we accept it. And, those parents who do realize this, and take actions to build a sound mind in their children, are the ones who are more successful. The research shows this.
    The parent asking the system to fix their child, just creates another person who asks the system to fix their child, and so busy with this are they, that it is obvious they have not been responsible and investigated what is being discovered by others, and what is being practiced that leads to the building of a child, into becoming a successful human being.
    Is this self abdication of responsibility the root cause of the rise in ADHD, ADD, dyslexia, and other learning dysfunctions? And, are these all the glare of disassociation and mis-association leading to cognitive dissonance? Are the false positives really a lack in practical application going on from this industrial school model that was meant to dumb down the child to acclimate to repetitive work, this kind of work being taken over by machines/automation?
    Overall, our behaviors as a society, are not in tune with reality, ADHD is the resulting behavior.
    The means to build a sound mind, are available, one need only make the decision to become responsible, which in the end is very self empowering. The costs for such are not as great as one would believe. The only thing stopping this is an old model, as a mental conceptual construct that must begin to step outside the box. This is really what Christ meant when he said we had to bring our heavens down to earth. The lack creates complication, the practical when accepted, brings ease.

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