Forgotten equity: The promise and subsequent dismantling of education finance reform in New York State


  • Drew Atchison American Institutes for Research



equity, adequacy, education finance, finance reform


This study examines the impact of court-ordered finance reform in New York State resulting from Campaign for Fiscal Equity v. State of New York on equity of inputs using synthetic controls. The findings herein indicate court mandated education finance reform in New York had little to no impact on equity of educational inputs despite an overhauled education finance system intending to distribute more state funding based on student need. In the period during and following the Great Recession, the State of New York chose to cut districts’ foundation aid, a form of aid designed to be distributed progressively, halting any improvement in equity. Had funding been distributed to districts according to the foundation formula that was specified by the education finance reform legislation passed in 2007, high poverty districts would have received more funding and disparities in funding across districts with similar characteristics would have been reduced. I also show that other forms of aid, which are regressively distributed, could have been cut instead of foundation aid, allowing for more funding to flow to high poverty districts in a time of fiscal constraint.


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Author Biography

Drew Atchison, American Institutes for Research

Drew Atchison is a researcher at American Institutes for Research (AIR). His primary responsibilities include quantitative analysis on a wide range of projects examining topics including accountability, education finance, and educational equity. Atchison has led the quantitative analysis for several reports commissioned by the Department of Education examining education finance related issues. In his research, Atchison has focused on the equity of education funding and examining how state, local, and federal policy changes have impacted the distribution of funding with respect to students’ educational needs. For his dissertation research examining accountability, equity, and education finance reform, Atchison was awarded the Jean Flanigan Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Association of Education Finance and Policy. Previously, Atchison was a research assistant at George Washington University, a consultant for Digital Promise, and a teacher in District of Columbia Public Schools. Atchison completed his doctorate degree in Education Policy from The George Washington University in 2017.




How to Cite

Atchison, D. (2019). Forgotten equity: The promise and subsequent dismantling of education finance reform in New York State. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 27, 143.