Despite its temporary truce with advocates for school children in poorer districts, the state Education Department took fire last Tuesday from state Supreme Court justices, who winced at its request for a one-year freeze on funding for certain education programs.

“It’s taken so long to get where we are . . . it is hard for the court to contemplate taking backward steps,” Justice Gary Stein said during a one-hour question-and-answer session held to clarify the department’s April 18 request for a moratorium on “non-core” programs.

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