Governor Cuomo Releases Final Report From The New NY Education Reform Commission to Continue to Transform New York's Schools

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today released the final report from the New NY Education Reform Commission.

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Albany, NY - January 14, 2014 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today released the final report from the New NY Education Reform Commission, which contains a comprehensive set of recommendations for continuing to transform New York’s schools by breaking down barriers to student achievement and improving the quality of education for all students. The Commission was chaired by Richard Parsons, Senior Advisor, Providence Equity Partners, LLC and former Chairman of Citigroup.

“A quality education is arguably the most important tool we can provide our students with to prepare them for success in today’s global economy,” Governor Cuomo said. “In order to make our schools the best in the nation, I challenged the New NY Education Reform Commission to identify ways to strengthen the public education system, improve access to programs that work and provide new opportunities for students to learn and grow. The Commission’s final report is a compelling blueprint for moving New York forward, and I commend its members for their hard work and vision. The report contains smart recommendations like rewarding our best and brightest educators for high-performance, and increasing the availability of technology in high-needs schools. These are some of the essential steps that we must take to provide New York’s children with the education they deserve, and I look forward to implementing them in the future.”

Commission Chair Richard Parsons said, “With this final action plan, the members of the New NY Education Reform Commission have identified and assembled a comprehensive set of actionable reforms that will strengthen and make more effective the public education system in New York State. This report is a roadmap for improving our schools in ways that will positively impact countless students, families and communities across the state. Every year $75 billion is spent on education in New York State, which is more than the total budgets of 47 states. We clearly can do a better job in terms of how we use these resources to educate our kids. We need to make smarter choices about where we allocate precious resources, create incentives for higher teacher and student achievement, and streamline and better coordinate the delivery of educational services within the state. The Commission’s Final Report forcefully addresses all of these matters. We are grateful to Governor Cuomo for allowing us the opportunity to address these critical issues and to help shape the agenda for change going forward.”

The Commission was tasked with identifying ways to increase the quality of education across the state. Recommendations from the Commission’s final report include:

  • Expand early education because it is critical for getting students on a path to success.The Commission recommends the state build upon, and bring to scale, the success of the first-ever state-funded full-day pre-kindergarten program and commit to developing a clear plan to expand access to high-quality full-day pre-k, starting with New York’s highest-need students.
  • Expand the use of technology in our schools, especially schools that have not been able to keep pace. The Commission recommends the state provide incentives and enact a program to improve access to technology in schools, especially our highest-need schools, as a way to help complement teaching and academic programs in order to improve student achievement.
  • Reward the best and brightest educators, especially in our struggling schools. A quality teacher is perhaps the best thing a student can have to be successful in life. The Commission recommends creating a Teacher Excellence Fund to reward teacher excellence and attract and keep talented educators in the classroom, particularly in our lowest-performing schools. This will build upon the Commission’s preliminary recommendations to improve teaching including the teacher bar exam, raising the standards for entry into SUNY and CUNY teacher preparation programs, and the Master Teacher Program.
  • Replicate programs that connect high school to college in order to create greater college opportunities, especially for underrepresented students. The Commission recommends that the state provide incentives such as college scholarships in high needs fields like STEM, and other financial assistance to cover the cost of college for high-performing students, especially underrepresented students, as well as expand innovative Early College High School programs, like P-TECH, so that at-risk students have a chance to attain both a high school diploma and an affordable college degree.
  • Strategically invest in higher education to successfully connect students to the workforce. The Commission recommends expanding the state’s strategic investment in public higher education to further incentivize providing access to all students and setting them up for success in careers, including incentivizing paid internships as well as increasing access to college degree programs though innovative methods, like online learning.
  • Focus on efficiencies to reinvest administrative savings into the classroom. The Commission recommends that the state expand opportunities for shared services, reduce obstacles to the school district merger process, and provide mechanisms for the creation of regional high schools.

Click here to view the Commission’s full report.

Underscoring New York’s status as a leader in education reforms and innovation, a report released last week by the Education Commission of the States found that New York is leading the nation in funding increases for pre-K programs. According to the report, New York provided the fourth largest funding increase for pre-K programs in the country with approximately $410 million allocated for pre-K programs in New York for FY 2013-14, an increase of more than $25 million from the previous year.

Governor Cuomo formed the New NY Education Reform Commission in 2012 and tasked its members with identifying new and innovative strategies to improve the quality of education for New York’s students. Throughout its work, the Commission utilized a community-based, collaborative approach that involved hearing testimony and receiving input from hundreds of parents, teachers, students, administrators, and policy leaders from around the state.

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