New York’s public education leaders, as well as unions and advocacy groups, responded Wednesday to a reform panel’s recommendations for how to improve the quality and effectiveness of the state’s schools.
The Education Reform Commission, formed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in April 2012, presented a preliminary report to the governor during a cabinet meeting in Albany Wednesday.
Education stakeholders mostly hailed with the panel’s recommendations — particularly a push to expand pre-K in the state — but some questioned the feasibility of implementing controversial and expensive initiatives.
Here’s what they had to say:
Merryl Tisch, chancellor of the Board of Regents
“The Commission has done a remarkable job of capturing the key elements of reform and encapsulating them into a series of very achievable recommendations. The Board of Regents looks forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature as we incorporate these recommendations into the comprehensive Regents Reform Agenda. The challenge is funding these crucial programs so they become part of the daily educational lives of students throughout the state. Our students need action.”
His full statement is here.
Richard Iannuzzi, president of New York State United Teachers
“Recommendations that New York expand access to full-day pre-kindergarten for students in high-need communities and recognition that better collaboration and coordination are needed to deliver social services to our most vulnerable students are two important steps that New York State can take immediately to help close the achievement gap. We look forward to working to turn these recommendations into budget and policy realities.”
His full statement is here.
Timothy Kremer, executive director of the New York State School Boards Association
“School boards stand firmly behind the basic premise of the Commission’s preliminary report: Putting Students First. All of us want to provide greater access to early childhood education programs, improve teacher quality, and ensure that students receive the social and educational support services they need to succeed. But many challenges lie ahead to bring these goals to fruition. The real work will be finding the resources and political will to implement them properly. We hope the governor and legislative leaders can find a way to help schools provide these programs and services without draining already tapped out taxpayers. We eagerly await more details in the governor’s State of the State.”
Rick Timbs, executive director of the Statewide School Finance Consortium
“The emphasis on increased efficiency and effectiveness of student performance has merit, but the pressing fiscal issues that hinder improved student performance initiatives did not receive the comprehensive and timely consideration they require. If we had all the time in the world, these recommendations would be a great start. Unfortunately, we don’t. These recommendations, though well meaning, don’t move the ball far enough down the field to stop the increased slide of these districts into fiscal and programmatic insolvency.”
Billy Easton, executive director of the Alliance for Quality Education
“Pre-kindergarten is one of the most proven education reforms available and full-day programs are particularly successful. Governor Cuomo’s Education Commission deserves recognition for making the expansion of quality Pre-K a centerpiece of their recommendations, targeting this to high need school districts, and recognizing the success of full-day Pre-K programs. Clearly the testimony of early childhood education advocates made a difference.”
Karen Scharff, executive director of Citizen Action of New York
“The full day Pre-K program proposed by Governor Cuomo’s Commission is a very important step toward preparing kids for Kindergarten, and closing the achievement gap. If children are ready for Kindergarten, they are more likely to succeed in school, graduate and go on to college or careers.”
The full report is here: