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Campaign for Fiscal Equity

Dr. Hamilton Lankford

Dr. Hamilton Lankford, Professor of Economics at SUNY Albany, presented the first-ever comprehensive analysis of the qualifications of New York City teachers, finding that the City’s teachers are not nearly as qualified as those elsewhere in the state. Nearly one-third of teachers working in a New York City public school today who took the basic Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAST) certification test in recent years have failed that test at least once. On average, most of those who eventually passed the test did so only after taking it more than three times. By comparison, only 4.7 of teachers elsewhere in the state who took the same test have failed. The report also found that those students with the greatest needs are usually taught by the least-skilled teachers. Forty-two percent of NYC elementary school teachers who have failed the LAST at least once work in schools with the highest student needs. Forty-nine percent of all elementary students enrolled in NYC attend schools in this category.

The report revealed particularly troubling results in math and the sciences. For example, more than 42% of high school math teachers failed the Math Content Specialty Test at least once. Just 17% failed in the rest of the state. The report concluded, “the relatively low New York city salaries and poor working conditions are the central factors explaining the poor quality of the City teaching force.” The mean teacher salary in NYC for those with a master’s degree and 30 years experience is just below $60,000. Outside the city, salaries for similar teachers are near $80,000.

Testimony given on November 16 & 19, 1999

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 >