Report to the State Board of Regents

 

October 2006

 

 

October 2006


The Meeting in Brief:  The Regents will allocate most of its October meeting to Full Board discussion of a proposed P-16 strategy that emerged from their deliberations at the September meeting.  Their purpose is to define their policy agenda going forward. At appropriate points during the P-16 discussion, the Board will debate high school graduation targets and attendance targets.  Numerous other items will be taken up and decided through the Board’s consent agenda. The Regents will vote on their State aid recommendation for 2007-08.   The Regents will vote on the draft Chapter 655 Report. The Regents will host the 18th Annual Archives Awards Luncheon to recognize excellence in archival work, and the scholarly use of archived materials.

A P-16 Response to the Achievement Challenge

              Student achievement at all levels of the system, both the gains and the gaps, has been continuously before the Regents, the educational community, and the public.  Since the last Regents meeting, reports on achievement of students with disabilities and all students in grades 3 through 8 in mathematics and English Language Arts have appeared in the context of the Board’s concern about closing the gap.  In the months leading to the USNY Summit, Regents and USNY leaders built awareness of the potential to engage this achievement challenge with the strength of the whole University of the State of New York.  A Call to Action outlined what USNY institutions can do.  Meanwhile, Linda Sanford, co-chair of The Business Council, conducted many regional meetings devoted to economic development, education and innovation.  Regents and the District Superintendents continue to host regional education summits. The Board pushed the matter even further in its policy discussions over the summer, and then spent the entire September Regents meeting on proposed actions. 

            The Board decided to focus on thirteen actions to improve achievement for particular groups of students, and to strengthen systems and structures to enable that improvement. These actions are summarized on page 5 of the attached proposal. Eight principles that are summarized on page 4 would guide the implementation. Both of those summaries are familiar to the Regents from earlier discussions.   September’s Regents meeting concluded with these questions: What would it cost and do we have the capacity to take those actions?

This is a multi-year plan. The actions would cost a total of $301.3 million, of which $73.2 million is already in hand. The additional funds include $69.9 million in the Regents 2007-08 budget recommendation, with the balance proposed for either 2008-09, or possibly through a revision of the Regents 2007-08 request. The actions would require a total of 348 staff, of which 160 are already working in SED, and an additional 188 that would be requested in 2007-08 and 2008-09.

            To help the Regents evaluate the proposed actions, the Board will receive a color-coded budget analysis that shows which actions are in which resource category.

            Chancellor Bennett decided to allocate much of the two-day October Regents meeting to discussion of the proposed P-16 plan.  I commend to the Board the exceptional efforts of a great many people who worked in concert to incorporate the Regents ideas into this plan, including all Deputy Commissioners and their staff, Rebecca Kennard, Len Simms and Mary Drzonsc of Operations and Management Services for their financial analysis, and Alan Ray who assembled the ideas of many into a coherent whole.

Other Items in Brief

            The Conceptual State Aid Proposal extends the Foundation concept of last year, using updated cost studies for foundation cost and regional cost adjustments, and an excess cost formula based on the Foundation, and provides for universal pre-kindergarten. The Subcommittee on State Aid will present a financial recommendation to go with the concept.

            The monthly report on Roosevelt documents recent work in and with Roosevelt, and reports grade 3 through 8 test scores.

            The Annual 655 Report is ready for the Board’s approval.

            A Regents item on the Redesign of New York’s Adult Education System responds to the 6th USNY aim, and the economic pressures facing adults who lack the skills required by a dynamic global economy.

            An Update on Testing describes responses to the NCLB peer review of New York assessments.

            The Monthly Financial Report shows that all accounts are in structural balance. Regents will ask questions about this report as part of their monitoring of Department financial integrity.

            The Board is receiving two items on closing the achievement gap: setting targets for graduation rates and attendance.

 

What We Envision

 

Text Box: THE AIMS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK (USNY)

1.	Every child will get a good start.
2.	Every child will read by the second grade.
3.	Everyone will complete middle level education ready for high school.
4.	Everyone will graduate from high school ready for work, higher education, and citizenship.
5.	People who begin higher education will complete their programs.
6.	People of all ages who seek more knowledge and skill will have the fullest opportunity to continue their education.

            The Board of Regents envisions a New York in which all people are prepared for citizenship, work and continued learning throughout their lives.  They foresee a New York in which gaps in achievement have closed, and the overall level of knowledge and skill among the people matches or exceeds the best in the world.  In spite of progress over the last decade, we are far from achieving that vision.  And the Board understands that the vision must be dynamic because policy leaders, educators, and other people around the globe are moving as fast as they can to achieve their own version of the same vision. The Board further defined their vision at the Education Summit in November 2005, which validated these aims:

            We also documented the educational challenges facing New York at the Summit and confirmed our goals to confront them:

 q     Close the great divide in achievement along lines of income, race and ethnicity, language, and disability.

q     Keep up with growing demands for still more knowledge and skill in the face of increasing competition in a changing global economy.

             Accomplishing these two related goals requires unprecedented collaboration among parents, employers, elected leaders and educators. Education is a system in which all the parts affect and depend on the others.  Solutions to its problems must be systemic solutions.  For example, giving all children a good start requires prenatal and child health care, family literacy through libraries and other institutions, pre-school programs and full-day kindergarten. And interventions have to start early and support a student’s learning throughout. Students who do not get a good start are unlikely to read by the second grade; students who do not become proficient readers won’t graduate from high school; and students who enter college with weak mathematics and literacy skills won’t graduate unless we do something to bolster their academic achievement.

     The strategies and actions outlined here draw upon the strengths of the entire University of the State of New York. Together these strategies and actions form a coherent whole. They will sustain students from their earliest years – with a focus on transitions, from pre-kindergarten and elementary school, to middle school, then to high school and college – by improving critical systems and structures that support achievement. In the next few pages we describe the principles that will guide our work. Chief among them is a commitment to engage everyone by listening to the people the education system serves. We will engage partners statewide in business, health and mental health, local and state government, community organizations, education, and most of all parents and students. This is a commitment to communication that is rich, continuous, and honest.

 


The Regents Approach: The Principles

 

The Regents propose this plan for the next stage of educational reform to accomplish the six USNY aims.  As the Board and the State Education Department act to implement its plan, we commit to do so in a manner that is consistent with the following principles:

 

 

q     We will confront the data, share it broadly, and use it to define as precisely as possible where resources and energy should be applied.  We will recognize the achievements and also declare the problems as clearly as we can.

q     We will engage everyone by listening to the people the education system is supposed to serve, to parents, to educators at every level, to the employers, and to the elected officials who must weigh enormous competing demands for scarce resources.  In particular, we will engage students and their parents, and the wider community because educational institutions do not belong to the educators but to the people.

q     We will define measurable objectives so that others can hold us accountable, and we can hold education leaders accountable for improving results.

q     We will study the practices of high performing education systems, states and nations, and adapt the best to New York’s situation.  We will examine what actions are most effective, and invite others to learn with us.

q     We will take action focused on systematic change to effect sustained improvement.  We know, for example, that closing the achievement gap for students requires correcting the unequal distribution of teaching talent.  And we know that in demanding change in educational institutions to achieve better results, we must also build capacity in our own State Education Department to take on its part of this improvement strategy.

q     We will continually renew the alignment of our actions to ensure coherence and effectiveness.  For example, academic standards, curriculum, assessment, and instructional practice have to be aligned to be effective.  When one element changes, all other elements must be examined to ensure that the system remains effective.

q     We will strengthen USNY, because it has great potential to build more effective transitions for students from one level of the system to the next.

q     We will advocate for State and federal financial resources and legislative actions that will help achieve better educational outcomes.  And we will be accountable for the effective use of those resources.

 


 

 The  Proposed Regents Plan for the Next Stage of Educational Reform

The Actions: Overview

For a decade, student achievement has improved in response to Regents policy and local action.  But the improvement is not sufficient. The achievement gap has narrowed but not closed. The world has also changed as billions of people have entered the global economy and ignited a global education boom.  Every society that can afford to do so is moving urgently to improve knowledge and skill and close their own version of the achievement gap.  The Regents will engage with statewide and local partners on the actions below, adopt or recommend policy as appropriate, and, with the State Education Department and all of USNY, seek improved results systemwide:

 

Students

1.       Promote a sustainable early education program for all high need students.  Resolve issues of standards, funding and service delivery.

2.       Improve academic outcomes for children with disabilities by setting performance targets, promoting effective practices, and holding schools accountable for dramatic improvements.

3.       Improve outcomes for English Language Learners by setting performance targets, promoting effective practices, and holding schools accountable for dramatic improvements.

4.       Improve high school attendance and graduation rates by setting performance targets, promoting practices that remove barriers to graduation, and holding schools accountable for dramatic improvements.

5.       Report student persistence and college completion results, and increase investment in programs that have been shown to remove barriers to graduation.

Systems

6.       Raise the learning standards to exceed global standards to graduate all students ready for citizenship, work, and continued education.  Align standards, assessments, curriculum and instruction across P-16, emphasizing transitions.

7.       Strengthen instruction. Define, reduce and then eliminate the inequitable distribution of teaching talent.  Require all teachers of core academic subjects to be highly qualified in the subject they are teaching by July 2007.  Improve teacher retention.  Focus professional development on effective practices in areas in which academic needs are greatest. Accelerate the integration of technology into teaching and learning practices in P-16 institutions. 

8.       Advocate for a Foundation Formula to provide State Aid that is adequate, sustainable, fair, and commensurate with the cost of education that enables students to meet the standards.

9.       Strengthen the capacity of the State Education Department to support schools as they work to improve student achievement and the Department’s capacity to hold them accountable for doing so. 

10.   Create a P-16 student data system to drive improvements in graduation rates in high school and higher education.

Structures

11.   Reduce barriers to teaching and learning in high need schools by creating a vision and leadership framework for an integrated education, health and mental health collaboration.  Promote strategies found to be promising in resolving high incident health and mental health problems among children.

12.   Create a P-16 Council to advise the Regents on actions to improve student outcomes dramatically at each transition point in the P-16 system.

13.   Focus regional education networks on joint P-16 strategies and actions to improve student outcomes.

The Actions

 1.       Promote a sustainable early education program for all high need students.  Resolve issues of standards, funding, and service delivery.

Problem:  Early language and literacy development begins in the first three years of life and is closely linked to a child’s earliest experiences with books and stories. Children lacking pre-literacy opportunities too often don’t become proficient readers. When they enter school, many children participate in a fragmented early childhood system. Although 80% of four-year-olds are in placements outside of the home, only one-third are served in State-funded pre-kindergarten programs. And many adults are not literate. Adults with low literacy have difficulty ensuring that their children can read, thus perpetuating the achievement gap.

Actions:

       Carry out the Regents early education policy. Key actions include:

o       Increase the number of children participating in Pre-K programs by 100,000, representing 75% of the estimated number of unserved children.

o       Advocate for change in the compulsory school law.

o       Define and advocate for changes in the scope and funding of early childhood programs, including decisions on a supplemental foundation formula, universal coverage for pre-K, and a mixed private and public system for pre-K.

o       Make scientifically-based reading strategies available to all schools and teachers.

o       Require improved screening of pre-academic, health and mental health needs of new students.

Timeframe:

Fall 2007

Staff Lead:

Cindy Gallagher Team Leader, Early Childhood and Reading Initiatives

Resources:

        Total funding needed to be determined in Regents state aid proposal for 2007-08.

        $250,000 to develop an online resource to provide scientifically based reading strategies to teachers statewide.

       Through the USNY Cabinet on Early Education, collaborate with other children and family-oriented State agencies and community organizations to identify and help families through large-scale parent training and related services. Set targets for results.

Timeframe:

By September 2007

Staff Lead:

Cindy Gallagher Team Leader, Early Childhood and Reading Initiatives

Liz Hood Director, Educational Television/Public Broadcasting

Resources:

To be determined based on discussions with lead agencies.


       Increase literacy of children and parents by expanding proven programs in libraries, museums, public broadcasting. Set targets and advocate for resources.

o       Increase proven training programs for librarians and parents on how to teach reading.[1] Use the resources of public television to help families develop literacy skills in their children, beginning at birth. All public libraries and PBS stations will offer robust programs of early literacy services.

Timeframe:

By September 2009

Staff Lead:

Carol Desch Director, Library Development

Liz Hood Director, Educational Television/Public Broadcasting

Resources:

        Total of $10 million annually: $7.5 million for libraries; $2.5 million for public broadcasting (2008-09 budget request).

        Current staff.

o       Increase participation in libraries’ statewide summer reading program from 1 million to 1.5 million children.

Timeframe:

Summer 2010

Staff Lead:

Carol Desch Director, Library Development

Resources:

$250,000 in existing Federal LSTA and reading program funding. Request $1 million annually in State local assistance funding.

o       Require museums receiving State aid to provide public and educational programs at no cost to families in poverty.

Timeframe:

Legislative session 2007

Staff Lead:

Clifford Siegfried Director, State Museum

Resources:

Passage of Museum Education Act ($30.0 million).

 

2.       Improve academic outcomes for children with disabilities by setting performance targets, promoting effective practices, and holding schools accountable for dramatic improvements.

 Problem:  Most students with disabilities do not leave school ready for either postsecondary education or employment. Only 37% statewide graduate with a regular diploma after four years; almost 19% drop out.  The lack of adequate intervention to increase student literacy and provide positive behavioral support is a primary cause of poor performance.

 Actions: 

        Set annual State targets for improvement, publish performance data and hold low-performing school districts accountable, including redirecting federal IDEA funds in low-performing schools to improve performance.

Timeframe:

Annually completed for 2006

Staff Lead:

James DeLorenzo Statewide Coordinator, Special Education

Resources:

        $375,000 IDEA funds (data collection grants available now)

        12.5 FTEs from current staff.

 

       Identify instructional practices contributing to poor student performance and help school districts identify and make improvements. Describe and promote effective practices, especially those addressing improved literacy and positive behavioral interventions, through district-to-district assistance.

Timeframe:

2006-2011

Staff Lead:

James DeLorenzo Statewide Coordinator, Special Education

Patricia Geary Coordinator, Special Education Policy and Professional Development

Resources:

        $3.1 million IDEA funds available for VESID assistance to schools

        $1.7 million annually for district-to-district assistance (5-year federal IDEA grant award available 1/07)

        35.5 FTEs from current staffing.

       Direct VESID’s technical assistance resources to school improvements in literacy, behavioral supports and quality delivery of special education services. Expand availability and capacity of technical assistance centers to promote training and implementation for Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) in the Big 4 and within BOCES.

Timeframe:

2006-07; PBIS expansion timeline dependent on additional new funding

Staff Lead:

James DeLorenzo Statewide Coordinator, Special Education

Resources:

        $13.0 million IDEA funds (SETRC) and $1.5 million (RSSC).

        $1.7 million annually for Big 4 districts in new PBIS funding.

        $100,000 annually for BOCES consultant training in new funding.

        Additional PBIS school services provided by BOCES would be supported by local funds (COSERS).

       Increase the number of students with disabilities transitioning directly from high schools to vocational rehabilitation training programs, employment and/or college.

Timeframe:

Start in 2006-2007

Staff Lead:

Edward Placke, Assistant Commissioner

Debora Brown-Johnson, Director, District Office Administration

Resources:

Current Available Federal Funding for:

  • Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors providing transition services two years before exiting high school – 36 FTE’s for an additional 2000 students with disabilities
  • Model Transition Programs with NYC DOE and school districts  - $6 million for 400 additional students with disabilities
  • Increased college tuition assistance – $4.25 million for an additional 150 students with disabilities
  • Increased support for books and materials for college and vocational training programs – $1.2 million for an additional 500 students with disabilities
  • Increased support for college interpreters and note takers – $1.2 million for an additional 100 students with disabilities
  • Summer employment - $750,000 for an additional 250 students with disabilities

 

3.       Improve academic outcomes for English Language Learners by setting performance targets, promoting effective practices, and holding schools accountable for dramatic improvements.

 

Problem:  While there has been significant improvement in the performance of English Language Learners since 1999, a large gap remains and results are unacceptably low. 75% of Hispanic students scored at Levels 3 and 4 on the 2005 elementary level mathematics test and 35% of Hispanic students scored at Levels 3 and 4 at the middle level. English language learners are more likely to need an additional year of schooling to meet high school graduation requirements. Even after five years, fewer than half of English language learners have graduated. Literacy is an issue for adults as well. Approximately 28% of New Yorkers speak a language other than English at home. Of these residents, 36% speak English less than “very well.”

 Actions: 

        Set performance targets. Provide technical assistance to low performing schools through Department staff and existing regional networks. Publish results, and hold schools accountable for making Adequate Yearly Progress. Require those that do not meet targets to plan for improvement.  If progress is not sufficient, require schools to modify curriculum, redirect or eliminate funds, and replace educational personnel. 

Timeframe:

School year 2006-07

Staff Lead:

Pedro RuizCoordinator, Bilingual Education and Foreign Language Studies

Martha Musser Team Leader, Information and Reporting Services

Resources:

        Existing resources for publishing data.

        5.0 FTEs (3 professional and 2 support staff) for accountability and assistance (included in 2007-08 budget request).

       Create a community of practice, evaluate the programs and instruction ELLs are receiving, share best practices and require professional development on effective ELL practice as part of corrective action for low-performing schools. Seek advice from the Committee of Practitioners.

Timeframe:

School year 2006-2011

Staff Lead:

Pedro RuizCoordinator, Bilingual Education and Foreign Language Studies

Resources:

Existing resources for: 

        Bilingual/ESL Teacher Institutes ($5,000-$10,000 per Institute)

        Bilingual/ESL Education Teacher Leadership Academy (Est. $650,000/year)

        Intensive Teacher Institutes to help teachers with certification requirements (Est. $1 million/year)

        $650,000 from existing resources for each of 5 years

        Leadership Academy for Administrators (Est. $350,000)

        Bilingual Education Technical Assistance Centers (BETACs) will receive about $6.7 million for the 2006-07 school year and provide professional development on best practices, including standards-based literacy and content area instruction, and assessments.

       Expand public library services to 500,000 additional English Language Learners in the State’s 1,100 public library buildings, including library materials in multiple languages, English language classes, programs to help parents with children’s early literacy and homework, job information, and public access computers. Build on successful models in Queens, Hempstead, Glens Falls, and Westchester County. 

Timeframe:

2010

Staff Lead:

Carol Desch Director, Library Development

Resources:

Reallocate existing funding to expand the State-funded library literacy services grant program by $1.5 million. Request in 2008-09 an additional $2 million in State funding.

 

4.       Improve high school attendance and graduation rates by setting performance targets, promoting promising practices that remove barriers to graduation, and holding schools accountable for dramatic improvements.

 Problem:  Since higher standards were adopted in 1996, the number of high school graduates each year has increased. However, only 64% of students who entered 9th grade in 2001 graduated in four years; 18% were still enrolled and 11% had dropped out. Rates for Black and Hispanic students were below 45%. Data show that graduation rates are closely tied to attendance rates. As attendance declines below 95%, graduation rates decline significantly. And both attendance and graduation rates decline with poverty.  New York’s current graduation rate standard is only 55%, one of the lowest in the nation. Schools need to focus on the least served students, such as Black males, English Language Learners, and students with disabilities.

 Actions:    

       Set a State standard of 90% for graduation rates, publish four- and five-year graduation rates by school, and specify a schedule of improvement targets for schools to close the gap between their graduation rate and State standard. Set targets now for the students who entered 9th grade in 2004 and will graduate in 2008. This action is especially important to ensure that more schools intervene to help the most underserved students, such as Black males, English Language Learners, and students with disabilities.

Timeframe:

2007-08 (Depends on Regents action)

Staff Lead:

Martha Musser Team Leader, Information and Reporting Services

Ira Schwartz Coordinator, Accountability, Policy and Administration

Resources:

Use existing resources.

       Set a State standard for attendance. This is an ideal time for the Board of Regents to consider setting targets for high school attendance rates because New York is scheduled to begin using attendance rate as the third academic indicator for elementary and middle level in the 2007-2008 school year. Under New York’s approved NCLB accountability plan, attendance will replace the grade 4 and 8 science examinations as New York’s third academic indicator at the elementary/middle level.

Timeframe:

2007-08 (Depends on Regents action)

Staff Lead:

Martha Musser Team Leader, Information and Reporting Services

Ira Schwartz Coordinator, Accountability, Policy and Administration

Resources:

Use existing resources.

       Research and benchmark other states for effective, innovative strategies that improve high school graduation and attendance rates. Provide effective strategies to schools to enable them to achieve the State targets through regional networks.

Timeframe:

2007

Staff Lead:

James Viola Executive Director, Regional School Improvement and Community Services

Sandra Norfleet Team Leader, New York City School Improvement

Resources:

The federally funded New York Comprehensive Center will research and provide targeted services to schools and school districts through the Department in addition to our regional networks.

       Align the Regents and Big Five districts’ strategies for improving high school graduation.

Timeframe:

2006-07

Staff Lead:

James Viola Executive Director, Regional School Improvement and Community Services

Sandra Norfleet Team Leader, New York City School Improvement

Resources:

Use existing resources.

 

       Benchmark the knowledge and strategies that link high school and college experiences in highly effective programs such as the Liberty Partnerships Program and the Science and Technology Entry Program, advocate for additional resources to reach more students, and promote good practices statewide to improve high school and college graduation rates among low income students.

Timeframe:

Timeframe will depend on resources available for students and staff capacity.

Staff Lead:

Stanley Hansen Executive Coordinator, K-16 Initiatives and Access Programs

Resources:

        Resources available now to benchmark and identify good practices.

        Additional $7.0 million to provide technical assistance to schools that replicate these models.

        1 additional FTE (included in 2007-08 budget request).

       Systematize linkages between the professions community and school districts to encourage middle and high school students to consider careers in the licensed professions, particularly in high-need areas, and help them to prepare for the advanced education they will need to qualify for licensure.

Timeframe:

Potential linkages and strategies for reaching out to elementary, middle and high school students now under development; collaborative initiatives between the professions community and schools beginning in early 2007 and ongoing

Staff Lead:

Johanna Duncan-Poitier — Deputy Commissioner for Higher Education and the Professions

Resources:

Use existing resources.

 

5.       Report student persistence and college completion results, and increase investment in programs that have been shown to remove barriers to graduation.

 Problem:  While better than the national average, New York’s college persistence and graduation rates must improve. One in five students who begin baccalaureate degree programs do not persist to the sophomore year in the institution in which they enrolled. One-third of students do not graduate in six years. Fewer than one-third of students in associate degree programs complete a degree in three years. The gap in college completion rates for under-represented students is significant. Only 43% of Black and Hispanic students complete their baccalaureate degrees in six years compared to 65 % of White students. This is unacceptable and must improve.

 Actions: 

       Publish freshman to sophomore student persistence and graduation rates of associate and baccalaureate programs in New York State. Analyze by sector, proportion of under-represented students, and other key criteria. Draw comparisons to national averages and to states with similar demographics.

Timeframe:

Annually, after requested staff is in place

Staff Lead:

Joseph Frey Assistant Commissioner for Quality Assurance

Resources:

1 additional FTE (included in 2007-08 budget request) for required data analysis.

1 additional FTE (2008-09 budget request) to publish data.

        Research and benchmark practices that improve persistence and graduation rates. Share them with colleges and universities through field visits, best practices guidelines, forums, and web-based resources, and help them to replicate successful strategies.

Timeframe:

By July 2007

Staff Lead:

Joseph Frey Assistant Commissioner for Quality Assurance

Stanley Hansen Executive Coordinator, K-16 Initiatives and Access Programs

Resources:

1 additional FTE (included in 2007-8 budget request) for research and sharing of best practices; 2 additional FTEs (included in 2007-8 budget request) needed for field intervention.


       Seek additional investment to expand the State’s highly effective opportunity programs for low income students.

Timeframe:

2008-09

Staff Lead:

Stanley Hansen Executive Coordinator, K-16 Initiatives and Access Programs

Resources:

        $34.0 million to serve approximately 20,000 additional students.

        2 additional FTEs (in 2008-09 budget request) to serve additional students and administer expanded programs.

       Monitor high-risk institutions and take action when standards are not met.

Timeframe:

Implementation is underway, but will be limited until requested resources are in place

Staff Lead:

Joseph Frey Assistant Commissioner for Quality Assurance

Resources:

        An additional $30,000 annually to support academic teams in the field.

        3 additional FTEs (included in 2007-08 budget request).

       Require colleges and universities to provide prospective students with accurate information on the institution, job placement, and/or transfer opportunities before they enroll.

Timeframe:

Spring 2007

Staff Lead:

Joseph Frey Assistant Commissioner for Quality Assurance

Resources:

Resources available now.

6.       Raise the learning standards to exceed global standards so all students graduate ready for citizenship, work, and continued education.   Align standards, assessments, curriculum and instruction across P-16, emphasizing transitions between high school and college, and high school and the workforce.

 Problem:  New York’s learning standards were adopted in 1996.  With the exception of mathematics, they have not been renewed in 10 years.   Other states and nations have renewed their standards and continue to do so.  It’s time to raise the standards to ensure that New York students have the best education available anywhere.

 Actions: 

        Text Box: POSSIBLE SCHEDULE FOR STANDARDS REVIEWS
Year 1:  English and CDOS
Year 2:  Science and Technology
Year 3:  Social Studies and the Arts
Year 4:  Mathematics and Languages Other Than English
Adopt a schedule and process to raise the student learning standards, using expert panels. The schedule will address standards in science, U.S. and global history and geography, English and other languages, and pre-kindergarten.  Benchmark the standards of other states and nations to match the demands of citizenship, higher education, and work. Align standards, assessment, curriculum, and instruction from P-12 and between high school and college. 

Timeframe:

July 2007 — July 2013

Followed by 3-5 years for implementation of revisions to State assessments

Staff Lead:

Howard Goldsmith — Executive Coordinator, Curriculum and Instructional Support

David Abrams — Assistant Commissioner, Standards, Assessment and Reporting

Joseph Frey Assistant Commissioner for Quality Assurance.

Resources:

        $1.35 million in new resources for the renewal of standards in each of 9 standards subject areas, one or two at a time, with an average of $150,000 per area.

       Revise State assessments based on the higher standards.

Timeframe:

July 2007 — July 2013

Staff Lead:

Howard Goldsmith — Executive Coordinator, Curriculum and Instructional Support

David Abrams — Assistant Commissioner, Standards, Assessment and Reporting

Resources:

        $500,000 for the development of each revised Regents exam (may need to revise as many as 16 exams), with normal operational costs thereafter.  If extensive revisions are needed to 16 exams, it could cost $8 million in new resources.

       Make online professional development courses available to all teachers, (such as the PBS TeacherLine NY and NYS Virtual Learning System). Create standards-aligned content with teacher guides, extensive online library resources, and interactive flexibility to fit classroom needs.

Timeframe:

Start in 2007

Staff Lead:

Chris Ward —  Assistant Commissioner, State Archives and Record Administration

Liz Hood Director, Educational Television/Public Broadcasting

Resources:

$5.0 million in new funding for online content annually for the State Museum, Library, and Archives and PBS stations, and $10 million for online library materials (NOVEL).

$250,000 to enhance VLS (also cited in Action 1.)

Additional 6 FTEs in cultural education and 5 FTEs in technology services (2008-09 budget request)

 

7.       Strengthen instruction.   Define, reduce, and then eliminate the inequitable distribution of teaching talent.   Require all teachers of core academic subjects to be highly qualified in the subject they are teaching by July 2007. Improve teacher retention.   Focus professional development on effective practices in areas in which academic needs are greatest. Accelerate the integration of technology into teaching and learning practices in P-16 institutions.

 

Problem:  One of the most important factors influencing the academic success of students is the effectiveness of instruction. Student performance increases as teachers gain more experience over their first four years.[2] Yet low income and minority students are more likely to be taught by teachers with less than three years of experience.  In New York State, only 7% of classes in core academic subjects in low-poverty elementary schools are taught by teachers who are not highly qualified, but in high-poverty schools over 18% of classes are taught by teachers who are not highly qualified.  Teacher turnover compounds the problem. Nearly a third of New York’s new teachers leave within their first five years of teaching.[3]  Finally, some students are not learning to read well.  Research shows that good teacher professional development can improve student achievement when it focuses on teachers’ knowledge of the subject matter and how students learn.[4]

 Actions: 

        Ensure all students are taught by qualified, certified teachers. 

o       Require all teachers in core academic subjects to be certified in the subject they are teaching by July 2007. 

o       Report the percentage of low income and minority students, as compared to other students, who are assigned unqualified, out-of-field, and inexperienced teachers in core courses.[5]

o       Set escalating targets to reduce the percentage of inexperienced teachers authorized to teach in SURR schools and Schools in Need of Improvement (SINI).

Timeframe:

Begun in 2006

Staff Lead:

Johanna Duncan-Poitier — Deputy Commissioner for Higher Education and the Professions

Jean Stevens – Interim Deputy Commissioner for Elementary, Middle, Secondary and Continuing Education

Resources:

        Resources available now to initiate.

        Additional $1.5 million and 1 FTE to upgrade TEACH system.

       Expand the pool of qualified teachers in areas where they are needed most, based on school district need. Identify specific needs and set targets.

o       Revise the teacher certification structure to provide greater flexibility (e.g., reciprocity options for out-of-state teachers) without compromising quality.

o       Provide regional teacher supply and demand data to school districts and colleges to align workforce demands, the types of teacher education programs colleges decide to offer or expand, and the subjects in which prospective teachers seek certification.

o       Expand the Teachers of Tomorrow Program and the Teacher Opportunity Corps to provide incentives to an additional 7,500 qualified teachers to teach in school districts with shortages and to provide an additional 1,200 teachers with training, professional development, and mentoring. 

    o       Foster new alternate teacher education programs where they are most needed and support the development and expansion of innovative programs that link P-12, higher education, business, community organizations, and other USNY partners.

o       Working with school districts, identify and improve environmental conditions that affect teacher retention.


Timeframe:

2006-7 and ongoing

Staff Lead:

Johanna Duncan-Poitier — Deputy Commissioner for Higher Education and the Professions

Jean Stevens – Interim Deputy Commissioner for Elementary, Middle, Secondary and Continuing Education

Resources:

        Resources available now to publish teacher supply and demand data and revise the teacher certification structure.

        Grant proposal under development for Planting the Seed, a multimedia initiative to encourage middle and high school students to pursue careers in teaching and the licensed professions.

        $560,000 annually for an additional team of 8 evaluators and clerical staff in Office of Teacher Certification will handle added volume from these actions and ensure qualified teachers are certified promptly (Ability to hire additional staff will depend on the Office of Teaching generating sufficient revenue.)

        Teachers for Tomorrow: 2 FTEs and $25.0 million annually to provide incentives to 7,500 additional teachers (additional staff would depend on increase in program funding).

        Teacher Opportunity Corps: 1 FTE and $2.0 million annually to serve 1,200 additional participants (additional staff would depend on increase in program funding).

       Strengthen the knowledge and skills of teachers and prospective teachers by assessing teacher education programs and professional development and improving as needed.

o       Review requirements for teacher preparation based on areas of greatest academic need. Work with colleges and universities to establish a schedule for strengthening the content of teacher education programs so that all new teachers have necessary knowledge and skills in four priority areas – literacy, mathematics, teaching students with disabilities, and teaching English Language Learners.  Evaluate and incorporate recognized effective practices in teacher education programs as needed.  

o       Partner with the New York Comprehensive Center to ensure faculty in college teacher education programs prepare all prospective teachers to use scientifically based reading instruction in the classroom.

o       Evaluate the quality of professional development and ensure current teachers get adequate knowledge and skills in how to teach reading and other key areas. Align the 175-hour professional development requirement with effective instructional practices related to improving student achievement. Monitor school districts’ implementation.

o       Using recommendations from the USNY Technology Policy and Practices Council, integrate technology into teacher education programs and professional development and into classroom resources. Insist that technology resources be provided equitably among all students and educators.


 

Timeframe:

2006-07 and ongoing

Partnership with the New York Comprehensive Center is now underway; collaborative workshop at the National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality scheduled for November 2006; online resources expected to be available in early 2007

Staff Lead:

Jean Stevens — Interim Deputy Commissioner, Elementary, Middle, Secondary and Continuing Education

Johanna Duncan-Poitier — Deputy Commissioner for Higher Education and the Professions

Resources:

        Additional 3 FTEs (included in 2007-08 budget request and dedicated to literacy, math, students with disabilities; ELL) to work with colleges to strengthen the content of their teacher education programs in these four priority areas.  

        Funding to the New York Comprehensive Center already provided by the U.S. Department of Education to support states in carrying out NCLB and strengthening teacher quality.

        Additional 3 FTEs to monitor, review professional development plans of school districts (2008-09 budget request).

        Additional 3 FTEs to focus on academic and instructional technology (already included in 2007-08 budget request.

 

8.       Advocate for a Foundation Formula to provide State Aid that is adequate, sustainable, fair, and commensurate with the cost of educational programs that enable students to meet the standards.

Problem:  New York’s state aid system fosters an unfair pattern of needy students, limited resources, and poor performance in many districts, contrasted with wealthy students, extensive resources, and good performance in other districts.  Despite increases in aid to many high need schools, the relative share of education revenues they have received has increased by only one to three percentage points over the past nine years.

Actions: 

       Advocate with the Executive and Legislature for a foundation formula that is adequate, sustainable, fair and commensurate with the cost of educational programs that enable students to meet the standards. The Regents have estimated that the total additional amount in foundation aid needed will be about $6 billion.

       Enlist the help of major statewide organizations and the Education Finance Advisory Group to advocate, preparing articles for publications distributed by major statewide organizations, and preparing materials for distribution at meetings and for posting on the web.

For both actions above:

Timeframe:

Legislative session 2007

Staff Lead:

Charles Szuberla Coordinator, School Operations and Management Services

Burt Porter Director, Education Finance

Resources:

Approximately $6 billion increase in foundation aid over 4 years.

 

9.      Strengthen the capacity of the State Education Department to support schools as they work to improve student achievement and the Department’s capacity to hold them accountable for doing so.[6]

Problem:  New York’s schools receive $40 billion each year in local, state, and federal funding. Resolution of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuit may add still more to the $17 billion currently spent on State Aid to Schools. We must ensure that the educational system is accountable for spending these funds wisely to improve student achievement. The Department can accomplish this by a two-fold approach.  First, through supporting schools to be good stewards of the resources entrusted to them by providing expert advice and creating resources for local district use.  Second, through building a robust, independent auditing and oversight capacity at the State level. And, in those instances where problems are uncovered, the Department will work with schools to find appropriate resolutions.

 Actions: 

        Advocate for the Regents 2007-08 budget proposal for additional staff to enhance our ability to help schools strengthen instruction and fiscal management, monitor and hold schools accountable for results, and prevent fraud, waste and abuse of school resources.[7]  With these resources,  the Department will:

o       Benchmark effective actions to improve results in middle and high school.

o       Develop an early warning system for local school districts to better understand their financial status and prevent fiscal distress.

o       Streamline local districts’ requirements for requesting and accounting for State Aid.

o       Provide expert support to implement internal controls in fiscally distressed school districts.

o       Deploy academic intervention teams to help low performing schools and school districts.

o       Expand the Department’s program monitoring to ensure that districts are in compliance with State and federal requirements for school improvement.

o       Increase the Department’s audit staff to ensure that fiscal resources are used effectively and that data are accurate and reliable.

Timeframe:

April 2007 March 2010

Staff Lead:

Theresa Savo — Deputy Commissioner, Operations and Management Services

Diana HinchcliffDirector, Governmental Relations

Charles Szuberla Coordinator, School Operations and Management Services

Resources:

First-year implementation costs:

Total:

$25.0 million

        Fiscal distress early warning system

$0.3 million

        State Aid Management System

$5.0 million

        Support to implement internal controls in fiscally distressed districts

$1.0 million

        Academic intervention teams

$13.0 million

        Program monitoring (school improvement/special education assistance)

$3.1 million

        Auditing (fiscal/data integrity)

$2.6 million

65 FTEs in new staff

 

 

Total of $76.8 million over 3 years (included in the 2007-08 budget request).

Additional $1.5 million and 2 FTEs to develop fiscal distress warning system and 2 FTEs to staff state aid management system.

 10.  Create a P-16 student data system to drive improvements in graduation rates in high school and higher education.

Problem:  New York has many separate education data systems, but no comprehensive P-16 view of the data. As New York builds a more cohesive P-16 educational system where the major transition points for students are well aligned, the State needs a complementary data system that provides information on student educational experience and performance through the system.  Currently, there is an array of different data systems maintained by multiple entities, including local school districts, BOCES, the State Education Department, individual institutions of higher education, and SUNY and CUNY.  Connecting P-16 data statewide could provide educators with the diagnostics and predictors they need to improve student persistence and graduation.  Systemic P-16 data collection and reporting initiatives will also support policy decision-making by the Regents and streamline the Department’s accountability and reporting requirements.

Actions:

       Benchmark existing P-16 data systems in other states.

       Engage all the partners in K-12 and in SUNY and CUNY. Define the system requirements in terms of expected outcomes, content (the data elements), personnel, and  technology. Establish a schedule to construct the system.

       Begin an initial project with SUNY and CUNY to identify, collect, integrate, and report on pertinent data to meet mutual goals. Create a fully integrated system for public schools, colleges, and universities.

Timeframe:

April 2007 March 2010

Staff Lead:

Terry Savo, Deputy Commissioner for OMS

Jean Stevens, Deputy Commissioner for EMSC

Johanna Duncan-Poitier, Deputy Commissioner for OHE and the Professions

Resources:

        $10.3 million of new funding.

        Additional 11 FTEs, 8 in technology, 3 in higher education (2008-08 funding).

 11.  Reduce barriers to teaching and learning in high need schools by creating a vision and leadership framework for an integrated education, health and mental health collaboration.  Promote strategies found to be promising in resolving high incident health and mental health problems among children.

 Problem:  The Board of Regents has acknowledged there should be action through state and local partnerships to resolve health and mental health barriers to achievement.  One child in four is at risk of failure in school because of social, emotional, health, or other disabling condition. One in ten children in this state suffers from mental illness, yet in any given year only 20% of these children receive mental health services.

Actions: 

       Establish an interagency health and mental health council to (1) create a vision and framework for an integrated education, health and mental health collaboration focusing on high need schools, and (2) set goals, annual measurable targets, and actions to achieve them.

Timeframe:

Council established by March 2007 — Memorandum of Agreement by June 2007

Staff Lead:

Richard Mills — Commissioner of Education

Resources:

0.5 FTE from current staff.

       Working with the Office of Mental Health (OMH) and other stakeholders, develop a preliminary Children’s Mental Health Plan to coordinate services, identify and disseminate best practices, collect data and report across systems, build a qualified and adequately trained workforce, and identify required appropriations to implement. This will help carry out the new Children’s Mental Health Act. Maximize impact of OMH’s Children’s Initiative funding on highest need schools and ensure replication of the most effective intervention models.

Timeframe:

Preliminary plan by June 2007 — Final plan by June 2008

Staff Lead:

Michael Peluso — Coordinator, Interagency, Legislation, Family and Community Relations

Resources:

1.0 FTE from current staff.

$62.0 million increase appropriated to OMH for children’s mental health services statewide in 2007.

       Develop guidelines that incorporate social and emotional development into elementary and secondary school programs.

Timeframe:

July 2007

Staff Lead:

James Viola Executive Director, Regional School Improvement and Community Services

Resources:

$100,000 in new funding for external consultant.

 

12.  Create a P-16 Council to advise the Regents on actions to improve student outcomes dramatically at each transition point in the P-16 system.

 

Problem:  The transition points in the system reveal poor student outcomes.  For example, grade 3-8 test results show a downward trend in literacy after 5th grade, which foreshadows weak performance in high school and unacceptable graduation rates. Many repeat 9th grade. Many students who graduate from high school enter college but lack the preparation to advance from freshman to sophomore year.  There is no one body charged with continuous review of the whole system from a P-16 perspective and development of proposals for the Regents to improve overall system performance.

 Actions: 

        Benchmark the best of the 30 states that currently have P-16 strategies and councils.  Benchmark also the nations with the highest performance on international assessments, and highest high school and college completion rates.

Timeframe:

March 2007

Staff Lead:

Graduates of the Department’s Leadership Academy

Resources:

 No additional resources needed.

       Regents adopt a vision, mission and goals for a P-16 Council, then appoint distinguished leaders of USNY, business, the community and parents to serve.  The Commissioner will appoint expert staff to support the Council.

Timeframe:

July 2007

Staff Lead:

Richard Mills — Commissioner of Education

Resources:

        $200,000 in new funding

        2 new FTEs

 

       Regents approve the annual charge to the Council and receive quarterly reports on Council recommendations.

Timeframe:

December 2007

Staff Lead:

Council Director (to be appointed).

Resources:

No additional resources needed.

        The Commissioner will provide for an independent evaluation of Council recommendations and Regents response.

Timeframe:

July 2008

Staff Lead:

Richard Mills — Commissioner of Education

Resources:

$200,000 in new funding

 13.  Focus regional USNY networks on joint P-16 strategies and actions to improve student outcomes.

 Problem:  In an independent evaluation of New York’s regional network strategy, the Education Alliance at Brown University said, “New York currently does not display the characteristics of a fully coherent system of support, as the alignment is incomplete and there is incomplete evidence of shared understanding of school improvement processes/approaches within and across levels of the system.” We need a regional system that leverages the resources and expertise of multiple State-funded networks to provide support, technical assistance, and professional development to low performing schools and school districts. We need better cooperation among all regional network organizations to make effective use of all resources. The effectiveness of the current network strategy needs to be evaluated to determine if its purposes are being met and to engage more USNY partners.

 Actions: 

       Evaluate the effectiveness of current technical assistance and professional development activities provided through the regional networks and adjust their responsibilities as needed. Establish policy for the regional education networks in helping to close the achievement gap. Identify resources and the roles of the participants in the regional network strategy in implementing the P-16 strategy.

Timeframe:

Underway

Staff Lead:

James Viola Executive Director, Regional School Improvement and Community Services

Sandra Norfleet Team Leader, New York City School Improvement

James DeLorenzo Statewide Coordinator, Special Education

Resources:

        Leadership Academy project on “Next Generation Regional Network Strategy” is using current staff.

        Additional 24 FTEs for school improvement in New York City and across the State (included in the 2007-08 budget request).

 

Note: Contracts for participants in the regional network strategy will expire at the end of the 2007-08 school year and will be adjusted based on their effectiveness in implementing the P-16 strategy for closing the achievement gap.  For 2006-07, resources targeted for the centers are:

Regional School Support Centers (Rest of State)

$12,340,880

Regional School Support Centers (New York City)

4,831,254

Statewide Reading First Technical Assistance Center

(est.)175,000

Statewide Math Technical Assistance Center

686,754

Statewide and Regional Student Support Services Center/Statewide School Health Services Center/New York State Center for School Safety   

4,420,212

Statewide 2lst Century Technical Assistance Center

495,971

CTE Technical Assistance Center

633,556

Regional Adult Education Network

2,310,000

Bilingual Education Technical Assistance Centers

6,731,279

Homeless

482,570

Special Education Training and Resource Centers  

13,000,000

  A Final Word

             The need to raise achievement at every level in the education system is clear and urgent. Every society faces this challenge today, and yet New York has several advantages. First, consensus is emerging about what needs to be done. The Regents are debating the actions described in this paper and welcome the views of others. While the task is great, there is vast capacity in the educational and cultural institutions that make up USNY, provided that we focus on a few, high-leverage actions. And education has innovative and committed partners among employers, elected leaders, and in the broad human services community. Success is not yet certain for any society in these challenging times. But New York can meet these challenges. Let’s get to work on them now. And let’s work together.



[1] American Library Association research shows significant improvement in child literacy when parents use the 6 basic pre-reading skills with their preschool children. The Pennsylvania State Library’s statewide program showed significant improvement in success by local librarians in training parents in these skills.

[2] Boyd, D., Grossman, P., Lankford, H., Loeb, S., Wyckoff, J.  How Changes in Entry Requirements Alter the Teacher Workforce and Affect Student Achievement, 2006, www.teacherpolicyresearch.org

[3] Lankford, H., Wyckoff, J., Papa, F. The Labor Market for Public School Teachers: A Descriptive Analysis of New York State’s Teacher Workforce, October 25, 2000, www.albany.edu/edfin/

[4] Teaching Teachers: Professional Development to Improve Student Achievement.  American Educational Research Association, Summer 2005, http://www.aera.net/publications/

[5] The Education Trust, “Missing the Mark: An Education Trust Analysis of Teacher-Equity Plans.”  Washington, DC: The Education Trust, August, 2006.

[6] Information on strengthening capacity for higher education appears in Action #5.

[7] The Regents budget proposal is for 99 positions, 65 of which apply to this action. Other positions are included in other actions in this document.


 
*** Last update 10/20/06**