The Rockefeller Institute presented a forum entitled, "Safeguarding the Right to a Sound Basic Education in Times of Fiscal Constraint" in June of 2012. The three speakers were:
- Michael Rebell, head of The Campaign for Educational Equity at Teachers' College, Columbia University
- John Faso, lawyer, former minority leader in the state assembly, and the Republican candidate for Governor in 2006
- Robert Lowry, Deputy Director of the New York State Council of School Superintendents (NYSCOSS)
The forum is worth viewing especially for those who are committed to doing something about the state cuts to education. As many read today, Canton Central is on the cusp of insolvency. Other North Country districts cannot be far behind. Many politicians do not want to discuss unfunded mandate relief - even as they cap taxes and cuts funding to schools. The Watertown Times reported that "the Governor , stinging from an increasing chorus from localities that an array of state mandates is hurting finances of communities...." It is true that NYS has a $1 billion deficit and so it is clear that cuts must ensue. However, why won't the Governor and many other politicians at least ease the burden on schools by relieving very costly mandates? Political considerations, as usual, seem to be trumping our obligation to provide students with their Constitutionally guaranteed right to a sound basic education.