Tuesday, December 17, 2013
 

 

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Board of Regents recommends $1.3 billion school aid increase

ALBANY - The New York State Board of Regents is expected to approve its State School Aid proposal for the 2014-15 state budget, calling for a $1.3 billion increase in state aid, more equitable funding for high needs school districts, and increased investments in universal pre-k programs and professional development for teachers and principals. The Regents State Aid Subcommittee approved the proposal today. Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch and State Education Commissioner John King, Jr. also announced the State Education Department is addressing recommendations made by the New York State Educational Conference Board (ECB) to improve implementation of the Common Core Standards.  

“The Board of Regents State Aid Proposal is an important step toward funding equity to make sure schools have the resources they need, and their teachers have the training and professional development they need to make sure every student graduates college and career ready,”  Chancellor Tisch said. “The Board will vigorously advocate for these necessary funds. The Board of Regents is committed to the Common Core, and so is the Educational Conference Board.  Any major reform requires adjustment along the way, and ECB has presented a thoughtful response to the challenges that come with raising standards for teaching and learning.”

“Schools across the state are responding to the Common Core in innovative ways,” Commissioner King said.  “But, as with all large scale change efforts, there are going to be challenges along the way.  We know that professional development is crucial to successful implementation.  The state has made major investments in professional development, and we’ll invest even more moving forward.  If the Governor and Legislature adopt the Regents’ state aid proposal, our students will give us a great return on that investment.”

Earlier this year, the ECB (comprised of the Conference of Big 5 School Districts, New York State Association of School Business Officials, New York State Council of School Superintendents, New York State Parent Teacher Association, New York State School Boards Association, New York State United Teachers, and the School Administrators Association of New York State) released a report reaffirming their strong commitment to the Common Core.  King said SED is moving forward in each of the five areas identified by the ECB that will help implementation of the Common Core:

  1. Increasing understanding. King and the Board of Regents members have just completed a series of 20 forums across the state, including five broadcast on public television.  SED is expanding its Common Core website, www.EngageNY.org, which includes a toolkit for parents and other instructional resources. (EngageNY.org receives more than 20,000 unique visitors every day.) SED is also highlighting the good work on the Common Core happening in schools through an educators’ blog and videos of great instruction. And SED will work with the New York State Special Education Parent Centers to develop understanding around the Common Core and materials for parents of students with disabilities to empower collaboration between parents and school districts as they plan individualized education programs for students with disabilities. 
  1. Professional development. SED has trained thousands of teachers and principals in best practices for implementation—and will hold more events on the regional level. More than $70 million in Race to the Top professional-development grants (Strengthening Teacher and Leader Effectiveness grant) is headed to high-need districts.   The Board of Regents is proposing a $125 million (increasing to $200 million per year in subsequent years) Core Instructional Development Fund to support professional development and parental involvement.
  1. Ensuring adequate funding. The Board of Regents State Aid Proposal is a $1.3 billion total funding increase request for State school districts, including additional funding for new instructional materials, while improving funding equity.
  1. Concerns with testing.  SED reduced the number of questions and testing time on the federally required assessments for grades 3-8, and our State budget request will include funding to further reduce testing time and eliminate stand alone, multiple choice field tests.  SED is also asking the U.S. Department of Education for adjustments to assessment policies for English language learners and students with disabilities.
  1. Review and refinement. As the Common Core is phased in for high schools, students will be given the option of taking the old form of certain Regents exams, alongside the Common-Core aligned version, to help ensure fairness. And SED is strengthening the role of the Department’s Content Advisory Panels – comprised of educators from across the State – to guide professional development and state-created optional instructional materials in different content areas.

See this link for the Regents 2014-15 State School Aid Proposal: www.regents.nysed.gov/meetings/2013Meetings/December2013/1213saa11.pdf.