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Alternative Approach to Determine Adequacy
The first issue that needs to be discussed and to which everything else is linked is the question of adequacy. What is adequacy and, even more important, how do we determine what an adequate level is? Having answered these questions, we may then discuss whether the specific approach presented in this article addresses the adequacy issue and how this is so. Further more, we can decide on some of its positive and negative points and compare the New York City approach to California and the way this may function there.
Adequacy briefly refers to a "sound basic education," that is to a "minimal educational performance." The problem in this case is that the Court of Appeals has provided several guidelines and characteristics of what this means, but no true definition of the term. Even more so, there seems to be no specific adequacy level. In this sense, the Court of Appeals has provided guidelines for a certain minimum level, however, the state courts may take it upon themselves to raise this minimum level and suggest a higher standard.
According to the Court, adequacy and the minimal level of education we have discussed may mean that the schoolchildren would have an education that would prepare them to "function productively as civic participants." This would include in the curriculum basic courses, such as English, Mathematics and Social Studies, but also Arts and a Foreign Language.
On the other hand, as studies have shown, adequacy should also be referring to exam results, with an extra weight on exams taken in high school. In this sense, a certain minimum average score obtained exams from primary level to high school may be the minimum educational level we have referred to.
The cost method approach that Duncombe, Lukemyer and Yinger suggest in their article should be relevant in determining what the cost of achieving the adequacy standard, that is the cost of "sound basic education," would be in New York City. Their method is a four steps approach.
The authors propose the cost estimations should start from the cost of "a sound basic education in a typical school district in New York State." In this sense, several approaches have been suggested, including the professional judgment approach, the successful schools approach and the cost estimation approach.
Of course, the connection between this step and adequacy is rather simple. Each methodology presents several means by which the minimum educational cost may be determined. The professional judgment approach, for example, evaluates the resources needed to be mobilized in order to reach a certain level of student performance, like the Regents learning Standards.
The second and third steps are directly link to cost evaluation for adequacy level in New York City. Indeed, one may assume that, while in the state several costs may be lower, in New York City resources are more expensive, which, in turn, will increase the amount of money spent for the adequacy level.
The article insists on two elements that may mean a difference in educational costs from New York State to New York City: wage costs (that is, the difference in wage costs between the City and the State) and additional costs implied by educating disadvantaged children. Let us have a brief discussion around each and sustain how they apply to adequacy.
The fact that teachers will work in the City will mean an increased spending on their part on such things as rent, health care or food than if they were professing in New York State. In this sense, in order to attract them towards the city and ensure that they are willing to work there, you will have to provide them with an additional income, in the form of an increased wage.
Hence, we may assume that the same teacher, providing for the same level of adequacy in New York State, will have to be paid more to provide for the same level of minimum education in New York City.
This is logical if we consider that, when negotiating a wage, you will not be considering only the work or service you will be providing, but also your costs (similar to when you are commercializing a product, when you are considering production costs).
The second element refers to disadvantaged children. There are two premises we need to discuss here in relation to adequacy and minimal educational level. First of all, is it…[continue]
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