From Senior Deputy Commissioner John B. King, Jr.
September 24, 2010
A new school year always brings with it great challenges and opportunities. Shortly before the start of the school year, the U.S. Department of Education announced that New York State had been awarded almost $700 million in the federal Race to the Top competition. Over the next four years, we will be challenged to implement the ambitious reforms we detailed in our Race to the Top application, but the challenge provides an unprecedented opportunity to improve the level of student achievement in New York State. As you welcome students back to school, I want to thank you for your continued support and commitment to education.
Dr. John B. King, Jr.
Quick links to headlines in this edition of News and Notes:
- August 24 Press Release: New York Wins Nearly $700 Million in Race to the Top Competition
- September Meeting of the Board of Regents
- Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) Assessment Professionals Needed
- High School Teachers Needed
- National Preparedness Month and Emergency Planning Commitments in 155.17
The United States Education Department today announced that New York State has been awarded $696,646,000 as a winner in the second round of the federal Race to the Top competition. Of the ten states named winners, only Massachusetts’s application scored more points than New York’s.
Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch said, “The Regents and I are absolutely thrilled that New York has been selected as a winner in the Race to the Top competition. We want to thank the State’s entire educational community, which came together in an unprecedented way to support the State’s RTTT application. We’d like to thank the Governor, Assembly Speaker Silver, and Senate Majority Conference Leader Sampson for their leadership and for enacting new laws that will support educational excellence. I want to extend a special thank you to United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew and New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein for appearing with us in Washington to help successfully make the case for New York."
"Our application represents a truly comprehensive reform agenda – one that advances the bold changes needed to turn around failing schools, close the achievement gap, and prepare all children to succeed in college and careers. The Regents and I are confident that our success in Race to the Top will help lift the level of achievement for New York State’s more than three million students," said Education Commissioner David M. Steiner.
John B. King, Senior Deputy Commissioner, added, "We are especially grateful to our partner organizations whose efforts in securing a high level of support strengthened our application, particularly: the New York State United Teachers, the New York State Council of School Superintendents, the New York State School Boards Association, the BOCES District Superintendents, and the New York City Charter School Center. We also want to thank Assembly Education Committee Chair Cathy Nolan and Senate Education Committee Chair Suzi Oppenheimer for their leadership and support."
The funding that New York State receives from the competition will help advance the Regents reform agenda through 27 projects over four grant years. $348.3 million of the RTTT funds will be awarded to participating LEAs (school districts and charter schools) over the course of the grant to support implementation, while $348.3 million will be used to build the capacity of educators statewide and directly support new curriculum models, standards, assessments, teacher and principal preparation and professional development, and the statewide student data system.
New York State’s Race to the Top application incorporates reforms enabled by legislation enacted earlier this year. The legislation: (1) establishes a new teacher and principal evaluation system that makes student achievement data a substantial component of how educators are assessed and supported; (2) raises New York’s charter school cap from 200 to 460 and enhances charter school accountability and transparency; (3) enables school districts to enter into contracts with Educational Partnership Organizations (the term for non-profit Education Management Organizations in New York State) for the management of their persistently lowest-achieving schools and schools under registration review; and (4) appropriates $20.4 million in capital funds to the State Education Department to implement its longitudinal data system.
Please visit the Department's Race to the Top website for more information and updates.
At its meeting on September 13-14, the Board of Regents acted in support of the following initiatives:
Qualified School Construction Bonds and Qualified Zone Academy Bonds
The Board of Regents voted that section 155.22 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education be amended as submitted, effective September 21, 2010, as an emergency action upon a finding by the Board that such action was necessary for the preservation of the general welfare. This will immediately establish procedures for the State's allocation to prospective issuers of Qualified School Construction Bonds (QSCBs) of their respective bond limitation amounts from the State bond limitation amount, so that such bond issuers may timely apply for and receive their respective bond limitation amounts, and timely issue QSCBs for the 2010 calendar year.
See the Regents item on Qualified School Construction Bonds and Qualified Zone Academy Bonds for more information.
Permanent Adoption of Proposed Regulations Relating to the Establishment of Graduate Level Clinically Rich Principal Preparation Pilot Programs
The Board of Regents voted that a new paragraph (6) of subdivision (a) is added to Section 52.1; a new paragraph (7) is added to subdivision (c) of section 52.21 and that a new sub clause (3) is added to clause (a) of subparagraph (ii) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 80-3.10 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, effective October 6, 2010. The proposed amendment will become effective as a permanent rule on October 6, 2010.
Discontinuation of the Regents Accreditation of Teacher Education
The Board of Regents voted that due to budgetary and staffing constraints of the State’s current fiscal environment, the Regents discontinue the Regents Accreditation of Teacher Education as an accreditation option for teacher and school leader preparation programs in New York State. In order to meet the program accreditation requirement in Commissioner’s Regulations, RATE institutions will be required to achieve accreditation through NCATE or TEAC by December 31, 2013 for colleges with accreditation dates expiring within three years. For those colleges with accreditation expiring after December 31, 2013, accreditation must be achieved before the expiration of their RATE accreditation period.
See the Regents item on the Discontinuation of the Regents Accreditation of Teacher Education for more information.
Emergency Adoption of Proposed Regulations Relating to New Standards of Academic Progress for the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) for the 2010-2011 Academic Year
The Board of Regents voted that clause (b) of subparagraph (iv) of paragraph (2) of subdivision (b) of Section 145-2.2 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education be amended, effective September 17, 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 implement Chapter 53 of the Laws of 2010 and ensure that remedial students are not denied TAP eligibility for the 2010-2011 academic year. The proposed amendment will become effective September 17, 2010. The proposed amendment will come before the Board of Regents for permanent adoption at its December meeting. If the proposed amendment is adopted as a permanent rule, the proposed amendment will become effective January 5, 2011.
See the Regents item on the Emergency Adoption of Proposed Regulations Relating to New Standards of Academic Progress for the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) for the 2010-2011 Academic Year for more information.
The Board of Regents also discussed and considered policy questions for several crucial issues:
Reporting of College- and Career-Ready High School Graduation Rates
The Board of Regents discussed the possible publishing of college- and career-ready graduation rate calculations that show what percentage of students are graduating from high school with a score of 80 or better on their Math Regents exam and 75 or better on their English Regents exam. The calculations would only be informational, as these score thresholds currently do not carry consequences for students, schools, or districts in New York's educational accountability system. To follow up on this initial conversation, Department staff will come back at a future meeting with a revised proposal that addresses issues raised in the Regents' discussion regarding the communications strategy.
See the Regents item on the Reporting of College- and Career-Ready High School Graduation Rates for more information.
Expanding Student Access to Quality Career and Technical Programs
Dr. Mark Sanders, Professor of Technology Education/Integrative STEM Education at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University presented information to the Board of Regents on STEM Education and provided suggestions for New York State to consider. The presentation focused on Integrative STEM Education, which Dr. Sanders defined as "learning approaches that intentionally integrate grade-appropriate Science and Mathematics into engineering design activity." It may also be enhanced through further integration with other school subjects. Dr. Sanders also took part in the panel discussion following his presentation. The other members of the panel were as follows:
- Ms. Terry Swett, CTE Director, Capital Region BOCES - Albany
- Mr. Chris Aguirre, Principal, City Polytechnic High School of Engineering, Architecture and Technology – Brooklyn
- Regina Paul, Policy Studies in Education – New York City
The panel presented overviews of their programs and answered questions relating to New York State’s high school graduates and how well they are prepared for college and the workforce. Discussion focused on CTE programs and how important it is to integrate core courses into the CTE program so that students see the relevance to the work they are doing. The panel also discussed the importance of high-quality teacher preparation, internships, seat time flexibility, and providing career awareness to students. The panel was provided the following discussion questions to help guide the conversation:
- Are there disconnects between the current NYS graduation requirements and multiple CTE pathways to graduation? If so, what are those disconnects?
- What do you see as the critical skills and knowledge that students will need to have to be successful in college and the workforce in the next 5-10 years?
- What recommendations would you offer to strengthen the high school program and ensure that more students are college and career ready?
- Should we have specific graduation requirements for Career and Technical (CTE) programs? If so, what should they include?
- What are specific benefits for earning credit for integrated academics and approved CTE areas?
At the request of the Regents, the discussion questions will be disseminated to field. In addition, staff will bring to future meetings proposals to expand access to CTE programs, particularly for high-needs students.
Annual Report of the State Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching
The Board heard a summary of the Standards Board's activities over the past year and its preliminary priority agenda for next year. Preliminary priority topics include: mentoring standards; performance assessment; accreditation, teacher leadership and career ladders for teachers; clinically rich practice; and teaching standards.
See the Regents item on the Annual Report of the State Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching for more information.
Adolescence Level Teacher Certification Restructuring for Students with Disabilities
The Board discussed proposed revisions to the adolescence level teacher certification structure for students with disabilities to ensure an adequate supply of such teachers and to ensure that they are prepared to collaboratively teach multiple subjects. To implement the proposed recommendations, amendments to the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education will be proposed for emergency adoption in October 2010.
See the Regents item on Adolescence Level Teacher Certification Restructuring for Students with Disabilities for more information.
Teacher Certification for Higher Education Faculty with Experience in Teaching STEM Content
The Board discussed whether or not to endorse the development of regulations to allow college faculty with advanced content area study in STEM content, and experience teaching in their content areas at the college level to become certified to teach in the public schools of New York State through a streamlined process.
See the Regents item on Teacher Certification for Higher Education Faculty with Experience in Teaching STEM Content for more information.
The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is seeking qualified professionals from Institutions of Higher Education with expertise in assessment and evaluation to work on specific activities associated with the NYS Testing Program (NYSTP).
Travel and meals will be reimbursed consistent with Department-approved rates. An application may be found at: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/osa/teacher/higher-ed-app.pdf.
NYSED is seeking high school teachers who are certified in English, special education, or English as a second language to assist in Standard Setting the new Regents Comprehensive Examination in English. Travel and meals for the two-day meeting to be held in January 2011 will be paid for by the Department's contractor. An application may be found at: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/osa/teacher/.
September is National Preparedness Month – an opportunity for the country to plan for emergencies at home, at school, and in local communities. As we embark on a new school year, this is an ideal opportunity to review school emergency preparedness plans and agreements with community partners. This includes ensuring that building-level emergency plans reflect items ranging from ongoing capital construction projects, an updated hazard analysis, incident command system training, and changes in internal emergency contact directories. Please review the NYSED memo to school officials regarding National Preparedness Month.