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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 20, 2011
For More Information Contact:
Tom Dunn, Jonathan Burman or Jane Briggs
(518) 474-1201
www.nysed.gov


REGENTS APPROVE DEVELOPMENT OF KINDERGARTEN
READINESS TOOL FOR USE IN 2014-15 SCHOOL YEAR

Yesterday, Governor Cuomo submitted New York’s application for a federal Early Childhood Learning Grant (ECLG) that could bring New York an additional $100 million in federal funds.  State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. said the application highlights the State Board of Regents’ commitment to early childhood learning. King noted that the NYS pre-K standards, adopted by the Regents to provide a strong foundation for the NYS Common Core standards, are a key element of the application.

The development of a kindergarten readiness measurement tool is an essential criterion of New York’s application for the ECLG grant. Earlier this week, the Board of Regents directed State Education Department (SED) staff to develop a Determination of Kindergarten Readiness tool for implementation in the 2014-15 school year. The Board also called for creation of a Kindergarten Readiness Advisory Council made up of expert stakeholders from around the state to provide advice for the development of the tool.

"Our students are in a race to the top, but far too many children are starting that race already behind," State Education Commissioner Dr. John B. King, Jr. said.  "And there’s very clear evidence that too often, students who start behind, stay behind. This is an important step toward getting these children back in the race to success.  The Determination of Kindergarten Readiness tool will provide valuable information that will inform both instruction and policy."

"Everything we know about literacy and our students’ performance throughout their time in school points to the critical importance of early childhood education," Regents Chancellor Tisch said.  "By the time the first day of kindergarten comes around, many students are already far behind in developing essential language skills that are critical to learning to read, write and solve problems.  If we can identify these children and intervene early enough, we can provide them the support they need to catch up and succeed in the classroom."

Susan K. Hager, President of United Way of New York State, praised the Regents’ action, "A statewide kindergarten readiness tool will allow educators and policymakers to better understand the school readiness of incoming children and how to address their differing educational needs in school.  Kindergarten readiness data and other indicators of early childhood education, health care, family literacy, nutrition, community safety and other challenges may also be used by educators, policymakers and funders like United Way to drive decisions about funding and program interventions that affect a child’s academic achievement."

Dr. A. Dirk Hightower from Children’s Institute in Rochester stated, “Screening and assessing children’s readiness skills along multiple dimensions is essential to understand what children may need to get a good start in school.  While identifying children’s needs is a necessary first step, a next and equally important step will be to provide and monitor the interventions necessary to assure each student’s success.”

King noted that the Determination of Kindergarten Readiness tool will allow schools to establish a developmental baseline for each child.  It will be a single-point-in-time measure of school readiness that is more in depth than the screening requirements currently in place.  The tool will be aligned to the State’s Early Learning and Development Standards.  Readiness findings will not be used to prevent a child’s entry into kindergarten, to place them in special education or make other high stakes decisions such as evaluating teacher effectiveness.

Currently, Commissioner’s Regulations require the screening of every new kindergarten student to determine need for further evaluation and services. Schools currently screen students for giftedness, disability, and/or limited English proficiency.  New entrants also must receive a health examination, vision and hearing screening and scoliosis screening.

As of last year, 25 states had implemented some form of a kindergarten readiness tool, and 4 states were in the process of developing a system.

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New York State Board of Regents
The State Education Department / The University of the State of New York / Albany, NY 12234
Office of Communications / (518) 474-1201

Last Updated: October 20, 2011