From Senior Deputy Commissioner John B. King, Jr.
July 9, 2010
June Meeting of the Board of Regents
At its meeting on June 21-22, the Board of Regents acted in support of the following initiatives:
Assessment Cost Reduction Strategies
The Board of Regents approved the proposed strategies to reduce the cost of the State’s assessment program. Two sets of strategies were presented to the Board to address the projected deficit of $11.5 million for 2010-11. The Regents have requested $7 million in the 2010-11 State budget to maintain the assessment program and avoid significant reductions in testing. If the final State budget includes the $7 million, the following strategies will be implemented to offset the remainder of the deficit:
- Reduce reliance on Education Specialists - $1.25 million estimated savings
- Post scoring materials and answer keys on the Web rather than printing and sending to districts - $.6 million estimated savings
- Eliminate Component Retesting in Math and ELA - $1.6 estimated savings
- Eliminate Grades 5 and 8 Social Studies Exams - $.8 million estimated savings
Total Estimated Savings - $4.25 million
If the budget does not include the $7 million as requested by the Regents or a final budget is not in place by August 1, 2010, in addition to the strategies listed above, the following strategies will also be implemented to eliminate the deficit:
- Eliminate Grade 8 Second Language Proficiency exams - $2 million in savings
- Eliminate August administration of Algebra 2/Trigonometry and Chemistry exams - $.8 million in savings
- Eliminate HS Foreign Language Regents exams except for Spanish and French - $1.2 million in savings
- Discontinue translating exams into certain languages except Spanish and use Department staff to perform that work - $.75 million in savings
- Eliminate January administration of Regents exams - $1.4 million in savings
Total Estimated Savings – $6.15 million
Additional cost savings will be identified by the Department to offset the remainder of the $11.5 million projected deficit.
If partial funding is provided in the 2010-11 State budget, then the Department will implement the second list of strategies in the order they are presented above based on the funding provided, with the elimination of the January administration of the Regents exams as the last item to be implemented.
The Board discussed the fact that with the end of ARRA administrative funds in 2011-12, the Department’s deficit for P-12 programs will likely increase to approximately $21 million and additional decisions about the assessment program will have to be made. Board members agreed that while these decisions for 2010-11 need to be made now in order to provide notice to the field before the beginning of the next school year, future decisions about the assessment program will need to be made as part of a broader discussion that includes future directions for standards, curriculum, and assessments.
See the Regents item on Assessment Cost Reduction Strategies for more information.
Merger of the SURR and Persistently Lowest-Achieving Schools Processes
The Board of Regents voted to amend section 100.2(p)(9), (10), and (11) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education relating to the merger of the Schools Under Registration Review (SURR) and Persistently Lowest-Achieving (PLA) Schools Processes. The amendment consolidates the process of identifying SURR schools under Commissioner’s regulations with USED’s framework for identifying PLA schools in order for states to access State Fiscal Stabilization Funds (Phase II), School Improvement Grants, and other federal funding opportunities. The regulations also require all newly-identified SURR schools to implement intervention strategies based upon School Improvement Grant guidelines issued by USED in January of this year.
Public School and District Accountability
The Board of Regents voted to amend section 100.2(p)(1)(i) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, effective June 29, 2010, as an emergency action upon a finding by the Board of Regents that such action is necessary for the preservation of the general welfare to immediately conform the Commissioner’s Regulations with New York State’s approved amended accountability plan. Students no longer identified as students with disabilities, but who had been so identified during the preceding one or two school years, will be included in the students with disabilities subgroup for purposes of calculating Adequate Yearly Progress. This will provide a more accurate account of the academic progress that schools and districts are making with students with disabilities commencing with the 2009-2010 school year.
See the Regents item on the Proposed Amendment of section 100.2(p)(1) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education for more information.
The Board of Regents also discussed and considered policy questions for several crucial issues:
New York State Common Core Standards Review and Adoption
The Board was updated on the New York State Common Core Standards Review and Adoption Process. Commissioner David Steiner and Senior Deputy Commissioner John King provided a general overview of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for Mathematics and English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects. New York must adopt the Common Core Standards by August 2, 2010 in order to be eligible for the maximum points in Round 2 of the Race to the Top competition. New York is also applying for a federal assessment systems grant as a Governing State in the Achieve consortium. The grant is targeted at states that have adopted the Common Core State Standards.
The Regents are scheduled to take action on the Common Core State Standards at the July Regents meeting in order to meet the Race to the Top deadline. Over the summer, two groups of professionals (including teachers, administrators, college faculty and administrators, cognitive psychologists, and leaders from the Standards Review Initiative) will meet in Albany to review the final set of NGA/CCSSO Common Core Standards and develop a proposed draft of P-12 New York State Learning Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics that includes the Common Core Standards (85%) and additional recommended New York State Standards (up to15%, as necessary) for statewide public comment. Final standards will be brought to the Regents for action in January 2011 (at the latest) for use beginning in the 2011-12 school year.
See the Regents item on the New York State Common Core Standards Review and Adoption Process for more information.
A New Approach to Charter School Authorizing
The Board of Regents discussed its current public charter school authorizing and oversight responsibilities. Staff recommended changes and improvements to the way in which the Board approaches its authorizing work to allow for greater accountability and transparency, including focusing more time on decision-making related to the issuance of new charters and renewals, and appropriately monitoring charter school academic performance, fiscal health, and school governance health. The Board discussed a timeline for implementation of the recommended improvements and how staff can reorganize to better support the work of the Regents as a charter authorizing board. The proposed improvements would include:
- Development of a new application review process;
- Development of a new approach to school evaluation and review;
- Adoption of a set of Board policies to guide the work of the Regents;
- Establishment of academic and operational performance standards;
- Development of a new charter contracting arrangement;
- Development of a new system of performance contracting or accountability plan arrangement; and
- Development of formalized school closure procedures.
See the Regents item on A New Approach to Charter School Authorizing for more information.
Delegation of Authority to the Commissioner to Approve Charter School Revisions
As part of the discussion on charter school authorization, the Board discussed proposed amendments to regulations delegating authority to the Commissioner of Education to approve revisions to charters of public charter schools on behalf of the Board of Regents, with certain specified exceptions. This would provide for the most efficient and expeditious means to approve and issue charter revisions, since many revisions do not fundamentally affect the school’s mission, organizational structure, or educational program. The proposed amendment will be submitted to the Board of Regents for adoption at its September 2010 meeting.
See the Regents item on the Delegation of Authority to the Commissioner to Approve Charter School Revisions for more information.
Middle Level Arts Requirements
Senior Deputy Commissioner John King provided an update on the proposed changes to the Middle Level Arts Requirements. The New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) is preparing to submit a request for a variance to the Commissioner’s Regulations to allow students in Grades 7 and 8 to fulfill the visual arts and music study requirements in any two of the four Arts disciplines (dance, music, theater, and visual arts). Staff will review the variance request and, if granted by the Commissioner, the variance would allow a three-year pilot program of study in selected New York City schools.
See the Regents item on Middle Level Arts Requirements for more information.
Cost Containment Proposals Relating to Special Education Requirements
The Board discussed proposed legislative and/or regulatory amendments that may potentially provide cost-saving mandate relief in special education. The Department will move forward with consideration of the following regulatory amendment mandate relief items:
- Authorize school districts to add up to two additional students to integrated co-teaching classes, upon documented educational justification.
- Repeal the minimum service delivery requirements for speech and language.
- Repeal the requirement that each student with autism receive instructional services to meet his/her individual language needs at a minimum of 30 minutes daily in groups not to exceed two, or 60 minutes daily in groups not to exceed six.
The Department will move forward with consideration of the following legislative proposal mandate relief items:
- Establish a one-year statute of limitations to request an impartial hearing and that requests for tuition reimbursement for unilateral parent placements in private schools be presented not more than 180 days from the placement by the parent.
- Repeal the authority of the Commissioner to appoint students to State-supported schools; revise the methodology for calculating the State appropriation to such schools; and require the State Comptroller to deduct the tuition rate (minus private excess cost aid) to the school district where the student resides.
See the Regents item on the Cost Containment Proposals Relating to Special Education Requirements for more information.
Proposed Principal’s Performance Evaluation System
The Board reviewed the Professional Assessment System for Educational Leaders, including the guiding principles and five components (Performance Goals, Student Performance, Feedback from Multiple Sources, Professional Growth, and Personalized Leadership Focus), to serve as the framework for a statewide Principal Performance Evaluation System.
See the Regents item on the Proposed Principal’s Performance Evaluation System and Feedback from the Field for more information.
Report of Incidents of Complaints Form
The New York State Education Department reminds Superintendents that the Report of Incidents of Complaints about the use of Corporal Punishment must be submitted on July 15, 2010. The report form, which covers the six month period of January 1, 2010 – June 30, 2010, is available online at: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/ssae/schoolsafety/CorplPunish/CorporalPunishment.html
Please complete and return the report form with the original signature of the superintendent or charter school leader to the address on the report form.
Education Law 2053 Reporting for 2009-2010
Chapter 640 of the Laws of 2008 established a new annual reporting requirement for school districts and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) regarding lawyers who provide legal services to school districts and BOCES. Specifically, Education Law § 2053 requires that certain information be filed with the Office of the Attorney General, the Office of the State Comptroller, and the State Education Department.
In order to simplify reporting requirements, the three State agencies have developed an electronic filing system that will allow districts and BOCES to electronically submit information for use by the three agencies.
District Superintendents and Superintendents of Public Schools should await instructions on when and how school districts and BOCES should access the electronic system to file their 2009-2010 information.
2010-2011 Limited English Proficient (LEP) Commissioner's Regulations Part 154 Application and Guidelines
All districts in New York State are required to identify Limited English Proficient (LEP) students and provide them with appropriate Bilingual and/or English as a Second Language (ESL) services. Part 154 of the Commissioner's Regulations (CR) is the Department’s regulating force that establishes standards for districts with LEP students to ensure that such students are provided opportunities to achieve the same educational goals and standards as the general student population. All districts must comply with CR Part 154 and are required to develop a Comprehensive Plan and submit an annual Data/Information Report to meet the educational needs of all LEP students.
For school year 2010-2011, districts only need to submit the annual Data/Information Report as required under CR Part 154 and any changes made to last school year's (2009-2010) Comprehensive Plan.
The 2010-2011 CR Part 154 Application and Guidelines can be downloaded at the following link: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/biling/bilinged/NEWCRPT.154.html
Summer Reading at New York Libraries
The New York State Education Department encourages educators and school administrators to get students involved in summer reading. Voluntary summer reading provides an excellent opportunity for students to enhance literacy skills developed throughout the school year.
The positive impact of summer reading programs on student achievement is especially evident in high-need communities where students often have access to fewer resources. Differences in reading gains between students in high-need communities and those in more affluent communities occur during the summer. Involving students in summer reading programs is an important part of an effective strategy to close the achievement gap. To learn more about the benefits of participating in public library summer reading programs, please visit the New York State Library Summer Reading at New York Libraries web page: http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/summer/research.htm.
Through Summer Reading at New York Libraries, the New York State Library offers an effective, voluntary summer reading program, planned and implemented collaboratively with local public libraries and free to students and their families. Students can visit their local public libraries and neighborhood branches and engage in reading and reading-related activities for fun, with a wide variety of options at their own level of interest and ability.
"Summer Reading at New York Libraries gives teachers and parents a proven learning tool that engages and excites youngsters as it raises literacy levels. This is a critically important experience that keeps children learning -- and engaged in the wonderful act of reading -- even when the school year is over." - State Education Commissioner David Steiner
The New York State Library has distributed Summer Reading at New York Libraries materials to all public libraries throughout the state, partnering materials have been provided to all school librarians through the School Library Systems, and resources are available to download at the New York State Library’s Summer Reading Program web site: http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/summer/.
Educators and school administrators are encouraged to work with their school librarians and teachers to share information with children and families about Summer Reading at New York Libraries, the summer reading program offered in public libraries statewide.
Please follow the link below for the latest information from the New York State Office of General Services (OGS) about green cleaning and an announcement for a great new training opportunity to help implement a successful green cleaning program.