New York State Education Commission Proposes Significant Changes

NY Education Reform CommissionIn April of 2012, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo convened the New NY Education Reform Commission.  Their task was to develop “an actionable course of reforms – based on proven models of success from within New York as well as other states and nations – that will provide the level of educational excellence that all New York’s school children deserve, that our State’s future economy demands, and that our taxpayers can afford.”

Made up of current and former business leaders, public and private education leaders, politicians, and community organization leaders from New York and around the nation, the Commission recently released its preliminary recommendations, to be followed up by final recommendations in September of 2013.

The commission traveled around New York conducting hearings and interviews in the hopes of using first hand information in addition to detailed analysis of education statistics to create a “comprehensive review of the structure, operation, and processes of New York State’s education system.”

The action plan is contained in two key sections: “Strengthen the Academic Pipeline from Pre-kindergarten through College” and “Great Educators Enable Great Students.”

Within the first section, there are seven recommendations:

  1. Increase access to early educational opportunities by providing high quality full-day pre-kindergarten for students in highest needs school districts.
  2. Restructure schools by integrating social, health and other services through community schools to improve student performance.
  3. Begin to restructure the school day and year by extending student learning time with academically enriched programming.
  4. Improve the education pipeline through the smart and innovative use of technology.
  5. Build better bridges from high school to college and careers.
  6. Promote increased access to educational opportunities by encouraging school district restructuring through consolidation and regional high schools.
  7. Create a school performance management system that will streamline district reporting and increase transparency and accountability.

Within the second section, there are five recommendations:

  1. Establish model admissions requirements for teacher and principal preparation programs to raise the bar for new educators.
  2. Recruit non-traditional candidates into teaching and leading by expanding alternative certification programs.
  3. Enhance the education training curriculum to better prepare teachers and principals to be highly effective upon entering the classroom.
  4. New York must raise the bar for entry into the profession.
  5. Strengthen educator preparation and in-service supports by establishing best practices to assure quality.

As of now, the recommendations mention little to nothing in the way of creating and sustaining funding for the proposed measures.  As the year progresses and the state government of New York wrangles over education funding issues, the commission may gain the new information it needs to include funding details in its final September report.

For more information, including a link to the full 92 page report, please visit these websites: