Posts tagged "Board of Regents"
May 20, 2013
“Every time it rains, like last week, the first words my son asks me” is if the house will flood, said Maryrose Spiteri. “He panics.”
Spiteri was part of a small group of parents and teachers from P.S. 38 on Staten Island who met in the school’s library this morning with three Regents: Chancellor Merryl Tisch, Buffalo’s Robert Bennett, and Staten Island’s Christine Cea. Principal Everlidys Robles estimated that 85 percent of her families “were devastated” by the storm and that 40 students — about 12 percent — had not returned. (more…)
May 17, 2013
The Board of Regents and the Assembly are teaming up next week to push for legislation that would give New York’s roughly 150,000 undocumented students access to financial aid for college.
On Monday, the board will convene a forum in Queens on immigration and education to wrap up their monthly meeting. The forum will discuss ways to increase opportunities for English language learners and undocumented students who were brought to the United States as children.
That has been part of the board’s legislative agenda for the past two years. The bill, the New York Dream Act, would give undocumented students access to state financial aid through the $1 billion-funded Tuition Assistance Program, or TAP. It would also allow them to open tax-advantaged savings accounts with private banks.
The TAP funding in this year’s budget is up from $885 million in 2010-2011. The Fiscal Policy Institute, an independent research organization, has estimated that the state would need to spend an additional $17 million annually to afford tuition assistance for the roughly 4,500 undocumented seniors who graduate from New York high schools every year. (more…)
April 23, 2013
ALBANY — A dozen new factors could be tossed into the state’s formula for measuring how much teachers have boosted their students’ state scores, according to a proposal that is dividing state education policy makers.
The state’s teacher evaluation law, passed in 2010, requires student performance to count in teacher ratings. Currently, the state calculates “growth scores” that count for a fifth of teachers’ overall ratings. But the law allows the state to increase the weight of its score to a quarter of teachers’ ratings once officials adopt a more complex “value-added” model for assessing teacher impact.
Both models are based on the principle that comparing students’ actual test scores with their predicted scores can show the impact their teachers had on their learning. The question is what variables to use when predicting scores so that teachers whose students have greater needs are not at a disadvantage. (more…)
January 24, 2013
In some ways, Gov. Andrew Cuomo fulfilled state education officials’ wishes this week when he allocated even more money to cash-strapped school districts than they asked him to.
But Cuomo’s state aid proposal was, in another way, the worst-case scenario that the Board of Regents sketched out last week at their monthly meeting. The Regents wanted new funds to be distributed according to the state’s regular school aid formula, but Cuomo said he would dole out the increased funding according to his own rules.
Knowing that Cuomo already had allocated $75 million in grant funding for this year’s schools budget, state education officials asked him to use the entire amount to help districts expand pre-kindergarten offerings and to distribute the funds mostly to low-income districts. They asked that he put the rest of his education dollars into the foundation aid formula, which doesn’t require districts to apply and compete for funding.
Cuomo’s budget proposal did not fulfill those requests. (more…)
January 14, 2013
ALBANY — State education officials cleared their schedule in anticipation of a busy week as dozens of school districts, including New York City, scramble to meet a Thursday teacher evaluation deadline.
Over the weekend, they finished assessing the last of the evaluation plans that districts had proposed, Commissioner John King told the Board of Regents this morning.
“As of 5 p.m. [Sunday], our desk was empty,” he said. “We’ve reviewed and provided feedback on everything that’s been submitted.”
Now they are just waiting for six districts to submit their plans for the first time and 29 others to resubmit plans that needed revisions.
King did not name New York City when he mentioned the districts that have not yet submitted plans. But there was no mistaking which district was most on his mind.
“One of them is quite large,” King said, to laughter. (more…)
November 14, 2012
Among the 23 teachers from across the state that Education Commissioner John King has tapped to give him feedback about how policy is playing out in the classroom, seven work in New York City schools.
The commissioner’s Teacher Advisory Council, announced today, will meet periodically to discuss the policy agenda that the state’s Board of Regents is advancing. That agenda, aimed at helping more students become college ready, includes adopting more challenging standards; overhauling low-performing schools; facilitating data-driven instruction; and improving teacher preparation and evaluation.
“The teachers on the Council will give direct feedback from the frontlines of reform – the classroom,” King said in a statement. “The most important thing we can do as educators is maintain focus on the students, and these extraordinary teachers will help us do just that.”
The teacher council parallels ones that already exist for superintendents, school boards, and other groups, according to Dennis Tompkins, a State Education Department spokesman.
September 10, 2012
ALBANY — Months after considering a plan to stop requiring students to pass a global history final exam in order to graduate from high school, state education officials are instead contemplating overhauling the test.
Under a proposal that the officials presented before the Board of Regents today, the state’s two-year high school global studies course would be divided in two. The first year would cover “foundational skills” economics, world history, geography, and civics and culminate in an end-of-course exam.
The second year would focus on themes and trends across world cultures and be aligned to more rigorous standards that the state is developing for social studies instruction. Only the material from the second year would appear on a Regents exam required for graduation.
Adjusting the current exam to conclude the second course would cost between $500,000 and $1 million, officials said. Creating a new test for the first course would cost more.
The proposal is the second one floated about the global studies exam in less than six months. Back in April, state education officials asked the Regents to allow them to make the exam optional in order to let students take other courses instead, particularly math and science classes that are seen as increasingly important in preparing students for college.
That proposal has been tabled for now, after social studies educators and some Regents balked at the idea. The exam, which covers about 2.5 million years worth of world history over the span of freshman and sophomore years, has the lowest pass rate of any of the five Regents tests currently required for graduation, and some critics said the state wanted to make it easier for students to graduate at the expense of a core subject. (more…)
July 12, 2012
When a researcher with a penchant for crunching charter school data sat down to compare New York State’s charter authorizers in 2010, her impetus wasn’t merely academic.
For Jonas Chartock, then the director of one of three authorizers, who requested an analysis, the data was a matter of survival.
“At the time there was a real push by some politicians to eliminate SUNY as an authorizer,” said Chartock, who headed SUNY’s Charter School Institute until early 2011.
Chartock asked Macke Raymond, a Stanford researcher who had just wrapped up a broad study of New York City’s charter sector, to examine her school performance data based on which office had authorized it. Her comparison showed up as an attachment to one of several hundred Department of Education emails released last week in response to a teachers union’s Freedom of Information Law request.
Raymond found that students at SUNY-authorized charter schools improved at a quicker pace than students at schools authorized by the State Education Department and the city Department of Education. At schools authorized by SED, she found, students actually lost ground over time. (more…)
June 19, 2012
For some students, final exams administered on Monday posed an extra challenge.
Months after a spate of errors on the state’s elementary and middle school exams caused parents and educators to charge that test-makers are held to lower standards than its teachers or students, more mistakes have come to light. This time the errors are on high school foreign language exams developed by the city Department of Education.
This year, local districts were required for the first time to create the foreign language exams that students can take to fulfill graduation requirements. The state had produced Regents exams in several languages in the past but eliminated them in a cost-cutting move last year.
Department of Education officials said the new requirement would be easy to meet because the city already created tests for less commonly studied languages such as Hebrew and Chinese. But when students sat down to take French and Spanish exams on Monday, errors quickly became apparent.
Students who took the French exam were asked a multiple-choice question with more than one correct answer. In one part of the Spanish exam, students were asked to choose two out of three questions to answer, but only given two options. And a printing error meant that the rubric students were supposed to use when structuring their essay on the Spanish language exam was missing. (more…)
June 19, 2012
For months, advocates for students with special needs have been pushing the state to reconsider a safety net meant to help those students graduate.
But when the state’s top education policy-makers sat down in Albany Monday to discuss the issue, they instead floated the idea of making graduation requirements even easier for students who have disabilities.
This year, for the first time, all students in New York State will have to pass five Regents exams with a 65 or higher in order to graduate. In the past, students have had the option of getting a less rigorous “local diploma” with some scores of 55 or higher, with the number of 65′s required inching upward each year.
But the elimination of the local diploma doesn’t extend to students who require special education services: They will still be able to graduate with 55′s on their transcripts, even on all five required Regents exams.
Advocates say that leniency runs the risk of creating a second-class diploma for students with disabilities, similar to the IEP diploma that is being eliminated. Students had to pass exams known as Regents Competency Tests to get the diploma, but earning one did not qualify graduates for college, work, or the military. (more…)