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Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Dr. Mark Alter

Dr. Mark Alter, Chair of New York University’s Department of Teaching and Learning, addressed the numerous problems of special education services in NYC schools. He testified that the “mandate relief” program of the mid 1990’s that reduced state aid to NYC resulted in dramatic increases in special education class size and had a pronounced negative impact on students’ education.

Dr. Alter attributed the higher percentage of restrictive placements of special education students in NYC to three reasons: centralization historically required by state law, the rigidity of the special education placement continuum under New York State law, and a long history of inadequate resources in general education in New York City. According to Dr. Alter, minority students are disproportionately assigned to special education because those students are more often at-risk of academic failure. General education classes often cannot meet these students’ needs.

Dr. Alter also praised the NYC Board of Education’s new Continuum of Services that potentially can bring the Least Restrictive Environment (“LRE”) reforms to all schools, but he stressed the need for more resources to fully implement the continuum.

Testimony given on January 12 & 19, 2000

Parents from across the state march on the Capitol in Albany to show support for CFE.
CFE Litigation CFE v. State of New York
In 2006, after 13 years in the Courts, the New York State Court of Appeals affirmed the right of every public school student in New York to the opportunity for a sound basic education and the state’s responsibility to adequately fund this right, but deferred to the Governor and the Legislature to determine the appropriate amount. more >