Thursday, September 15, 2016

NY Times Muddles Education Debate | janresseger

NY Times Muddles Education Debate | janresseger:

NY Times Muddles Education Debate

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Last week, Connecticut Judge Thomas Moukawsher released a school funding decision in the case, Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding v. Rell.  Judge Moukawsher found Connecticut school funding unconstitutional, but at the same time his decision was anything but clear.  The Connecticut Supreme Court had already recognized the state’s allocation of educational resources and their alleged deficiencies, and had remanded the case back to the lower court with the expectation that the judge would examine the evidence and determine to what degree Connecticut’s level of investment in the plaintiff school districts meets the adequacy standard.  Writing for the Stamford Advocate, Wendy Lecker, an expert on school finance and an attorney with the Education Law Center, explains: “At trial, the CCJEF plaintiffs (had) put forth overwhelming evidence of severe resource deficiencies of inputs such as: academic and social intervention for at-risk students and students with special needs; guidance counselors, social workers, nurses, services for English Language Learners, music, art and other subjects; and reasonable class size. Judge Moukawsher’s charge was to examine the resources in the districts at issue in the case…. However, nowhere in the opinion does the judge systematically look at the actual resources present or absent in each district.” (On Tuesday, this blog commented on the Connecticut decision).
In his decision, the Connecticut judge also chose to range far beyond the funding issue at the center of the case.  In his decision, Judge Moukawsher condemns a range of policies and practices in education that have little to do with school finance. The decision is confusing and the NY Times, which has covered the decision, has neither identified nor explained the pertinent issues. Instead, praising the decision as A Holistic Ruling on Broken Schools, the NY Times Editorial Board declares: “These rulings have focused mainly on money. But a sweeping opinion issued last week by a state judge in Connecticut went beyond criticizing funding policies. He ordered the state to revamp major aspects of the system—including special education services, teacher evaluations and hollow requirements that ‘in some places have nearly destroyed the meaning of high school graduation and left children rising from elementary school to high schools without knowing how to read’…. The blistering ruling should shame lawmakers, who have for decades looked away from the problem of NY Times Muddles Education Debate | janresseger:


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