In New York, the state’s highest court ruled in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE) case that the state government has a constitutional obligation to provide all students “the opportunity for a sound basic education” that prepares them for productive civic participation and competitive employment. This means every school must be equipped to help all students develop the knowledge, skills, and habits they need to be effective civic participants when they graduate from high school.
Last fall, the Center for Educational Equity launched a multi-faceted educational-rights initiative focused on strengthening students’ preparation for civic participation here in New York and nationally. Since then, we have been working diligently with colleagues and collaborators throughout the state to fill critical knowledge gaps through research, develop legal strategies, engage the public, and build a coalition to advance a common policy agenda.
Key components of that work were on display at our May 23rd Reinvigorating Civics Education in New York joint conference with Generation Citizen, which we hosted here at Teachers College. That day, a richly diverse convening of stakeholders explored New York’s civics-education landscape through solution-oriented dialogue on how to reinvigorate civics education in our schools, boost civic-engagement pathways beyond the classroom, and realize New York students’ constitutional right to civic preparation.
Important insights and recommendations presented that day included those of leading state education policymakers Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa and Deputy Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green, school-based educators and administrators, legislative analysts and advocates, and our own TC President Susan Fuhrman and education-law scholar and CEE executive director Michael Rebell.
But it was the experiences and expertise of local students, our young civic leaders whose valuable ideas are so often excluded from education-policy conversations, that most inspired many conference participants. Not only were young people represented on each panel, students also delivered the opening and closing remarks.
Click here to watch the videos, and stay tuned for additional opportunities to join us as we join forces with other outstanding partners around the state to strengthen civics education for all New York students!