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Urban Students Tackle Research on Inequality

By East Side Community High School (11th graders)

New York City educates 37 percent of New York State's population but receives 33 percent of the state education budget.

Great Neck, N.Y., spends $17,640 dollars per student on education. New York City spends $9,623 dollars per student.

We are a group of seniors at New York City's East Side Community High School who are examining the fiscal inequities among urban and suburban schools. We have been researching what a "sound, basic education" is as part of a project with graduate students from CUNY.

Article XI of the New York State Constitution says, "The legislature shall provide for the maintenance and support of the system of free common schools, wherein all the children of the state may be educated." In the case of the Board of Education, Levittown Free School District v. Nyquist (1982) the court interpreted this to mean that all students be given the opportunity of a "sound basic education."

East Side Community High School is a small urban school that ranges from grade seven to 12. Students are graded by using performance-based assessment instead of standardized tests; our graduation depends upon our portfolios of work — including essays, projects, research papers, and tests. We don't just look at the dates and times in history or memorize math formulas. We look at the how and why as well. And that's what got us interested in this project.

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