February 13, 2014
By Stephanie West
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. For the full report, click here. For the executive summary, click here.
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 shortchange 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.