Promoting Accountability in New York State
Any significant increase in the level of resources available for public education in New York State has the potential to be wasted without effective programs for its use. While better instruction alone can help increase student performance, the dramatic increases called for by the Court are only possible with both an infusion of resources and real reform in the delivery of educational services in much of the State.
In examining how money – new money as well as the money currently spent by New York’s districts – is used, the State needs to develop better accountability systems than are now in place. The current accountability systems have grown up over the years and are inadequate and sometimes even conflicting (as described below, a single school in New York City may find its principal receiving a performance bonus while the school is listed as “in need of improvement” in the federal accountability system and “under registration review” in State terms). Alignment of the three tiers of accountability systems by which schools are measured is a prerequisite to any effectiveness; conflicting accountability systems are a guarantee of ineffectiveness.
CBC calls for a new accountability system for education spending to be developed in conjunction with the Campaign for Fiscal Equity settlement to ensure that new money, as well as old money, is spent effectively.
This paper was prepared as support for the full report, "Can New York Get an A in School Finance Reform?" The research was made possible by generous support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and by designated contributions from CBC Trustees.