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Parents and Education Reformers: Hold Schools Accountable for New Funding


Monday, June 25, 2007   

There's intense scrutiny on a Board of Regents meeting today in Albany, with parents, minority groups, and education reformers calling for strict standards on how schools can use money from the state's historic school funding increase. Zakiyah Ansari, a parent leader for the Coalition for Educational Justice, says the schools need strict guidelines on how to spend the new funding or else it will be misspent.

“We're hoping it won't just be a suggestion. It will be wording that will definitely say that you need to do x, y, and z. If it's suggested, it doesn't happen.”

The Regents plan to make their final recommendations by the end of the summer. Extra funding will be given to schools completing a "contract for excellence," which determines how schools can use the new money.

Nikki Jones of the education reform group Alliance for Quality Education says parents from all over the state are coming to Albany to call on the Regents to enact tough standards for schools to follow.

“These are the same parents that have been involved in this fight for 14 years. So, they are here to demand that the regents adopt strong accountability regulations that will govern the contracts for excellence making sure the money reaches into the classroom where it's going to make a difference.”

Ansari believes the board needs to set a high standard for schools.

“Then that process goes on, and it carries over. Then it's accountability, and it's not just sitting on someone desk as paperwork.”

The NAACP and the New York Immigration Coalition are joining the school reformers. They say education funding too often flows away from high-needs schools toward wealthier ones.

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