July 2009

Commissioner letterhead

Graduation Rate

In May the Regents began a discussion about graduation requirements an assessment of whether New York should increase the graduation rate goal.  In June the Regents continued this discussion by examining the most recent graduation rate data for the 2004 cohort, comparisons to other recent cohort data and the impact of the Regents 2005 policy decision to phase out the local diploma option for general education students. The Regents also discussed the new No Child Left Behind (NCLB) accountability requirements for establishing a new graduation rate goal and annual targets and using disaggregated graduation rate data.   In June members of the Board suggested a series of issues and asked for additional information and data as part of the ongoing discussion concerning the policy decisions they will need to make this fall.    A compilation of those issues and the additional data that will be provided this fall are included in this month's information item along with some of the information requested in June a list of the policy decisions that the Regents will need to make this fall and some brief background information.

Charter Schools

There are 16 charter school items scheduled for action by the Board of Regents this month.  One of the applications is for an initial charter, two are applications for charter renewals and the remaining 13 applications are for revisions to current charters. 

Site Visits

            A number of site visits have been scheduled for our trip to Buffalo.  Information on each site follows:





Discussion with local leaders

The Regents will participate in several conversations with area leaders.  The first session will be with 12 confirmed local college presidents. This will be a discussion of topics including early college opportunities for high school students, college readiness - current high school requirements, reducing the need for remediation for college freshmen, and, affordability.

The second session is a hearing with local leaders. Topics include what is needed to create an effective community school. Families in the gap have a multitude of issues facing them: health/mental health; single parenting; poverty; crime; and low expectations.  The hearing will describe the scope and depth of the problems and outline successful solutions (with accountability).  The Board will gain a keener understanding of the problem and learn how a community school with professional and timely services in collaboration with schools, higher education and agencies can close the gap.

Oral Reports on the “Race to the Top” and the PMO implementation

            Regent Tallon will inform the Board of the progress in planning the implementation of the Project Management Group’s recommendations and the next steps in the work underway.

              On July 24 the United States Education Department presented draft guidelines for the long-anticipated “Race to the Top” competitive grants to the states. The guidelines are published in the Federal Register for a 30-day comment period, with the final document expected in October. Regent Young will provide an overview of the “Race to the Top” and the current status of New York’s efforts to develop a winning application.