Samira Ahmned (Deputy Director, Campaign for Fiscal Equity). The Post-Standard. 8/24/2001.

To the Editor:

Your editorial Aug. 17 called on the state to ensure that all children, regardless of social or economic class, receive a sound basic education. We could not agree more.

The state filed a brief Aug. 13 appealing the landmark state Supreme Court decision that found the state failed to provide children across New York state with the opportunity for a sound basic education, their constitutional right. In his decision, Justice DeGrasse held that an education "consists of the foundational skills that students need to become productive citizens capable of civic engagement and sustaining, competitive employment."

The threshold task is to ascertain the cost of providing a sound, basic education. The Campaign for Fiscal Equity calls on the Legislature to appoint an independent panel to begin this important. Such a panel can be established regardless of Gov. George Pataki's appeal. Unless we take this vital step, the current inequitable funding system that the governor himself called a "dinosaur" will remain in effect.

We cannot waste one more day in the lives of our children. We must begin reforming our unfair system. It is not merely a necessity because a court has ordered it, but because the future of the children of New York depends on it.

Samira A. Ahmed, deputy director

Campaign for Fiscal Equity

New York City