September 2004
Report to the State Board of Regents


Meeting in Brief: The Regents will discuss their potential 2005-06 State aid recommendation and next federal agenda. The Board is scheduled to adopt the non-state aid portion of the 2005-06 budget proposal. They will examine the student achievement gap from another perspective: jobs and workforce preparation. Teacher quality is part of the gap closing strategy, and the Board will continue its earlier discussion of proposed regulations for supplementary teaching certificates. The Regents will continue their review of Department implementation of policy on assessment by discussing a report on improvements in assessment over the last year, and will decide their schedule for reviewing additional assessment topics. The Board will define a framework for their future decisions on charter schools.


The Year of Continuous Budget Advocacy


The budget vetoes were disappointing. Consider the list at right. The funds were needed in January when we advocated for them at the joint legislative committees, we spoke to that need throughout the session, and the need is still there today.  Therefore we ask that these funds be restored.


Every part of the University of the State of New York is affected, including the State Education Department. On the list are dollars needed to enable students to complete higher education, connect persons with disabilities to jobs, sustain libraries, counter school violence, prepare students for work, rescue low performing schools, and prepare future teachers. We will again communicate the importance of these programs to legislative leaders, the educational community, and the public.


This has been an unusual budget cycle. Even now there is no end to the uncertainty facing local educators and leaders of cultural institutions. So let 2004 also be remembered as the year when our budget advocacy never stopped.


General Fund State Operations                     $2,100,000
Education of Children of Migrant Workers          4,500
Transferring Success Program                            31,400
AIDS Education Funding                                    34,600
Workplace Literacy Program                               68,800
Apprenticeship Training Program                       91,500
Comp. School Health Demonstrate Prg.              18,300
Extended Day/School Violence Prev.              1,510,000
Health Demonstration Project                               7,500
Schools Under Registration Review                   100,000
Primary Mental Health Project                           28,500
Liberty Partnership Program                             575,000
Independent Colleges and Univ.                     2,212,000
Higher Education Opportunity Prg.               1,100,000
STEP and CSTEP Programs                              500,000
Teacher Opportunity Corps Prg.                          38,000
Aid to Public Libraries                                    4,478,000
Educational Television                                      692,000
VESID Case Services                                      2,000,000
Independent Living Centers                              536,600
Supported Employment/Integrated                  618,000
New York City Peer Intervention Prg.             500,000
Teaching Standards Cert. Grant Prg.              500,000
New York Public Library (NYPL)                    225,000
NYPL Science, Industry & Bus. Library         112,500

2005-06 Budget Development Process


The Regents have in committee and in the Full Board developed their recommendations for the non-state aid portion of their 2005-06 budget proposal. The Board scheduled a September vote on this recommendation. Accordingly, the budget bluebook will be before the Board. The Board will want to discuss SED capacity. This is an issue that the Board has already engaged and will continue to discuss during the fall. We advocated for more staff in certain critical areas during the 2004-05 budget debate and will need to do so again.


Key question: Will the Regents adopt their 2005-06 recommendation for the non-state aid portion of the budget?


Regents State Aid Proposal


During the last legislative session and in the CFE process, state aid and accountability issues have been joined. The Regents discussed this in May. It is important, therefore, that the Regents take up both issues together and the Board will do so in the EMSC-VESID committee. 


The decision on the Board’s 2005-06 state aid proposal is scheduled for December. However, the schedule of panel of referees in the CFE case concludes by the end of November. As requested by the Regents, Counsel and Chief of Staff Kathy Ahearn filed a request for the Regents to appear as amicus and that request was granted. Included in the request were the Board’s 2004 state aid proposal and a summary of our accountability system.


A hallmark of the Regents attention to accountability has been the Board’s determination to seek continuous improvements in the policy and its implementation.  We did this most recently when the Board revised their already rigorous accountability system to be consistent with No Child Left Behind.  The CFE matter presents another such opportunity.


The Regents item on accountability presents a number of ideas that have appeared before the Board before – the student record system, and the regional support centers, to cite two examples – but now shows how they might enhance the accountability system by enabling schools to improve.


Federal Agenda


In December, the Regents will adopt their federal legislative priorities.  In September, the Regents will react to a framework for that decision. We propose a concise statement to support advocacy with members of Congress.  Still pending reauthorizations (IDEA, WIA) may be completed this year and would be removed from the paper. We will focus on expected congressional action in the 109th Congress: reauthorizations of Higher Education and Perkins, and possible revisions to No Child Left Behind.


No Child Left Behind needs more discussion. As the Board can see from the recent Education Commission of the States report, New York is one of a handful of states that have implemented all of the main provisions of the law. New York was also in the minority of states that implemented the predecessor to NCLB. Deputy Commissioner Kadamus notes that we used NCLB to create a $100 million after school program capacity and a scientifically-based reading program. We used the grade-by-grade testing requirements to engage local educators to create the next generation of assessment. We have also defined specific points that need revision and continue to pursue those matters in Washington. We need allies to get changes, but our interests are not identical with all the other states.


Key question: Does the Board agree with this framework and does the Board have guidance to offer in preparing the new federal advocacy materials?


Another Look at the Gap


One result of a good education is a good job. Preparation for work is not the only reason for a good education. Readiness for citizenship, development as a caring, responsible human being – these are big parts of the American rationale for education, too.  But Anthony Carnevale and Donna Desrochers note that without a job, the other parts of the dream fade quickly. Consider this from their Standards for What? The Economic Roots of K-16 Reform:


“Those who are not equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to get, and keep, good jobs are denied full social inclusion and tend to drop out of the mainstream culture, polity, and economy. Hence, if the standards reform movement cannot fulfill its economic mission to help youth and adults become successful workers, it also will fail in its cultural and political missions to create good neighbors and good citizens.”[1]


The economic imperative for high standards education is a dimension of the achievement gap discussion. Many have responded to the Regents relentless focus on standards and results with concern about the pace and rigor of the standards. “Slow down” is the message. The economic argument goes in the opposite direction: toward still higher standards and faster, too.


Jobs today require higher skills than before. Assistant Secretary of Education Susan Sclafani reminded the chief state school officers that 60 percent of all jobs were unskilled in 1950, but by the end of the 20th century that proportion had dropped to 15 percent. Jobs that don’t require a college degree nevertheless require more than a high school level of knowledge and skill.


The workplace pays a premium to workers at successively higher levels from dropout to high school diploma, some college, BA and so on. However the economic argument is not about credentials. As the Hudson Institute notes in Workforce 2020, employers are buying skills, not just any diploma.


Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich has said that work is being transformed around the world. Work that is routine is being automated or eliminated.  He cites as an example, “welders” in auto manufacturing who sit at computers controlling the robotics. These workers are few, highly skilled, and highly productive.


The business community sees these changes and has long supported the Regents effort to raise standards and achievement. Demographics alone would be enough to give employers a stake in closing the achievement gaps. Millions of baby boomers are thinking about retirement. The generations behind them are much smaller. Workforce experts say that there will not be enough workers to do the work of the future. It follows that no economy can afford to poorly educate anyone.


Globalization is one more part of this. As John Castellani, president of the Business Roundtable said, financial markets compel businesses to move quickly. The jobs go wherever there are educated people.


University of Tennessee Professor William Sanders told a group in Albany that 40,000 engineers graduated recently in the United States. In one year, India graduated 140,000 while China graduated 340,000.  I had an opportunity to listen to the vice-minister for education of the People’s Republic of China. He spoke of China’s determined effort to close its own achievement gap.


As part of the continuing series of expert presentations on Regents priorities, we will hear from Anthony Carnevale and from Linda Sanford, senior vice president, IBM.  Dr. Carnevale is a national expert on the gaps from a workforce perspective. Ms. Sanford has been a leader in the Business Council’s Engage New York campaign to build additional business support for the Regents standards and the need for higher student achievement.


Key questions: How does this information deepen our understanding of the gap closing strategy? How can we strengthen the alliance with business partners in closing the gap?


Report on Improvements in Assessment


The Regents will discuss a report on improvements in test development and administration since last September and the new exams required by No Child Left Behind. This item is pursuant to the Regents commitment to study and monitor the Department’s implementation of the Board’s policies on assessment. The EMSC-VESID will decide their schedule for reviewing three more assessment topics: the 8th grade exams, the graduation requirement of five Regents exams, and 65 as a minimum passing score for graduation.


Middle Level Models


In June the EMSC-VESID Committee considered  -- but did not commit to -- the possibility of defining more than one model for a middle school.  In September, the Committee will discuss a framework of three models.


The starting point is the Regents policy on middle level education adopted in 2003.  The question is how to implement that policy in approximately 800 middle schools serving children with very different needs.


The paper includes ten design principles that would help even the strongest middle school improve. We would build a self-help tool around those principles for local use.


The heart of the paper is table 1, which shows how all middle schools on a continuum of five different conditions could choose among three different models. The three are clearly distinguished, and while some would not be available to some schools, every school would have at least two choices.


There are several potential gains from such an approach. The Board would be able to offer three distinct ways to implement its middle level policy in schools facing different conditions. The schools themselves would be encouraged to invent the most workable middle schools of the future. And the principles would lead to improved practice in all or most middle schools.


Teaching Policy


The Regents policy on teaching is now almost six years old and last May, approximately 18,000 new teachers graduated – the first group to prepare under the new policy.  The Board committed to review of the policy in 1998, and has followed through and will continue to do so this month.


The Regents will discuss a report on three items that the Regents Task Force on Teaching discussed long and carefully in 1998:


·        Master’s degree in three years instead of five as required formerly.

·        Full-time faculty in sufficient numbers for a majority of the courses.

·        Faculty workload limits.


The Task Force and the Full Board had good reasons for the positions taken on these issues. However, they continued to listen to differing perspectives throughout the implementation. The Department’s paper presents data from college and university presidents on these issues, and summarizes the views of others. The paper outlines an approach that would allow more flexibility on the faculty issues for institutions that achieve expected results.  This thinking is consistent with the Regents discussions over the years on “winning compliance.”


Throughout the six-year implementation, the Regents have balanced firmness and flexibility to get the result they sought from the beginning – a well-prepared teacher in every classroom.  Keeping the balance has never been easy.  One more point that might be helpful: Consider the overall condition of teaching and the patterns of shortages and oversupply. Teachers need rigorous preparation to enable their future students to meet the standards. Too many teachers are being prepared in some fields, and too few in others.  We need to search, as the Board always has, for the policy framework that ensures rigorous preparation of a sufficient number of teachers where they are needed. This is consistent with the 1998 Task Force report that drew attention to gaps in teacher preparation and placement.


The Board will have an unprecedented database to evaluate teacher policy as the research of James Wyckoff, Hamilton Lankford, Donald Boyd, Pam Grossman, and Susanna Loeb emerges. 


Key question: Does the experience of the last six years support modification of Regents policy to provide teacher preparation programs with greater success more regulatory flexibility?


Supplementary Certificate for Teaching


Teacher shortages continue in mathematics, science, special education and bilingual/ESL.  In June the Higher Education and Professional Practice committee discussed a supplemental certificate that would respond to this need. The matter comes to the Committee again with revisions after consultation with Regents, educators from around the State, and the Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching. The supplemental certificate would be available in fields with shortages for candidates who already hold a teaching certificate, earn specific academic credits, pass required courses and the Content Specialty Test, and enroll in a higher education institution to complete requirements.  Schools that employ such teachers would commit to support them to ensure quality instruction.


Key questions: Do the proposed regulations respond to Regents intent that we must create a larger pool of qualified teachers in fields with shortages? Does the Board want to adopt new regulations?


Regents Statewide Plan for Higher Education


The Higher Education and Professional Practice Committee will continue the discussion on the Regents 2004 - 2012 Statewide Plan for Higher Education. At the September meeting the Committee will begin discussions on the Department and sector initiatives that will support several Regents priorities as identified in the Plan.  In addition, the Committee will discuss the need for hearings on the CUNY and SUNY plans as well as a hearing on the Tentative Statewide Plan. 


Charter School Critical Issue


Charter school decisions are complex and time-consuming for Regents and the affected parties.  The charter school legislation was intended to stand alone without regulations. With experience, the Board has become aware of the issues that recur in charter school approvals and renewals. To make best use of that experience and to focus their deliberations, the Regents agreed that they would consider a list of common issues and after hearing advice from the State Education Department, would define and adopt a framework for charter decisions.


Key question: What policy guidance do the Regents have on the first three topics in the charter framework?


Advocacy for New Century Libraries


We have scheduled three leadership meetings to discuss the New Century Library initiative: September 16, Clarkson University in Potsdam; November 10, Bath; and November 29, New York Public Library in New York City.  The Regents Cultural Education committee will prepare for their advocacy for New Century Libraries for the 2005-06 legislative session.


A Scorecard on Legislative Advocacy


The Regents have eight priorities for state legislative action in the 2003-2004 session. The legislature has ended its formal session. It is not known at this time whether the legislature will take up any of these bills in special session between now and the end of the year. Here is the current status of these priorities.


Regents Priority Legislative Proposals for 2003-2004

New Century Libraries

Regents bill introduced in both houses. Similar but not identical bill introduced in Assembly. All left in committees.

Improvement of Postsecondary Disability Services

Regents bill introduced in both houses. Similar but not identical bill introduced in Assembly. All left in committees.

Access to School-Based Health and Mental Health Clinics

Regents bill introduced in Senate. Similar but not identical bills introduced in both houses. S.2778-A (similar bill) passed Senate.

State Aid


State budget approved by the legislature and governor contains $740 million (school year basis).

Allowing Retired Public Employees to Return to Teaching and Administrative Jobs Without Loss of Pension

Regents bill introduced in Senate. Similar but not identical bills introduced in Assembly. All left in committees.

Nursing Faculty Scholarship Program

Regents bill introduced in Senate. Similar but not identical bills introduced in both houses. All left in committees.

Revising the Public Accountancy Law


Regents bill introduced in both houses.  Senate amended its bill; Assembly did not. Both left in committees.                       

Planning and Reporting

Not introduced in either house.





[1] Anthony P. Carnevale, Donna M. Desrochers, Standards for What? The Economic Roots of K-16 Reform. Princeton: Educational Testing Service, 2003. Page 2.




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Last Updated: November 01, 2004