New York City Public Schools could soon become the next “crazytown” after a federal judge ruled the district failed to provide adequate oversight and education for students.
The ruling, issued on Monday, marks the second time in the past few months that a federal appeals court has found the district lacked sufficient oversight and educational oversight.
The first time, in July, the court said the district didn’t properly train teachers and failed to address issues that could lead to the school districts collapse.
A second federal judge in January ruled that the district wasn’t doing enough to fix some of the problems and failed in several other areas, including its handling of student discipline.
New York is one of a number of states and districts that have seen the rise of so-called “crowded classrooms,” where students are crammed into classrooms with fewer teachers, but have fewer resources and less accountability.
In September, the U.S. Department of Education, the Department of Justice and the New York state Attorney General announced that they would launch a new “smart district” initiative, which will focus on education in schools with the most students with disabilities, the most at-risk students, students with mental health issues and students with special needs.
“Today’s decision is another step in the right direction,” said Amy Kreider, senior counsel at the Education Law Institute, a group representing the plaintiffs in the case.
“We’re hopeful that this new initiative will bring greater accountability to public schools across New York and that it will lead to better schools and a more equitable future for all New Yorkers.”
The decision, however, doesn’t end the litigation over the district.
The court said it will also be considering a claim that the city has been illegally forcing students to use special ed and that a separate lawsuit brought by the parents of two students who died at a public school has merit.
The state will also continue its ongoing legal battles with the district over the use of standardized tests, the use and impact of which the court did not address.
New York is not alone in this fight.
Other districts are facing similar lawsuits.
A federal judge recently ruled that a district in Wisconsin violated students’ constitutional rights when it forced them to attend remedial school classes after they were suspended for failing to comply with a school district policy that requires students to attend classes that are designed to meet their specific needs.
In May, a federal district in Ohio sued to stop an elementary school from placing a “smart” classroom where students would be required to take standardized tests to pass.
In December, a district sued to shut down an elementary schools in Louisiana that was adopting a new curriculum that included students who had special needs and learning disabilities.
The latest lawsuit in New York comes at a time when school districts across the country are facing unprecedented pressure to reform.
The American Federation of Teachers has called for a “national dialogue” to address the “failing” education systems, while President Donald Trump has called education reform “the most important issue of our time.”
The National Association of School Boards said it supports the “smart, connected, and connected school” and said “smart and connected” is a key metric in school reform efforts.