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Governor outlines education initiatives in State of the State address

Jan. 10, 2013—Governor Cuomo presented his State of the State address on January 9, outlining his agenda for 2013. Below is a summary providing more details regarding education issues. The governor indicated that he plans to expand New York Open for Business efforts with a "one - two punch" -- jobs and education. You will note that the governor's education agenda is strongly supported by the report recently issued by the New NY Education Reform Commission. For more reaction to his speech tune into Education Speaks.

Extending learning time and opportunities for students. This initiative is designed to be an option for school districts and New York State will be responsible for 100 percent of additional costs. Extended learning time may be implemented through longer school year (curtailing summer and/or other vacations) and/or through a longer school day (adding time before and/or after school).

One section of the governor's plan is titled: "A Success Story: The Teacher and Principal Evaluation System." He noted that 99 percent of school districts have submitted APPR Plans. The governor feels that the APPR system will contribute to making New York a national leader on educator accountability.

Providing quality full-day (at least 5 hours) pre-kindergarten programs for the highest need students. The governor noted that most current UPK programs provide approximately 2.5 hours of learning time and that expanding to full-day programs will provide better education success trajectory and reduce long-term costs to taxpayers.

Strengthening support systems for children and families through community schools. Though this initiative targeted, integrated services would be provided to address children's health, nutrition, security, and family needs as part of a comprehensive strategy to increase achievement.

Expanding and replicating successful Early College High School Models that may lead to students completing high school while simultaneously earning an associate degree or up to two years of college credit.

Recruiting the best and the brightest educators into our schools and instituting stricter standards for entry into the profession. This would be accomplished by increasing admission requirements for all SUNY and CUNY teacher preparation programs, requiring that teachers-in-training participate in more frequent and higher quality student-teaching in school settings, and creating a "bar exam for teachers."

Paying for performance of the highest-performing teachers is one method the governor intends to employ in order to "create a performance culture." Master teachers will be rewarded with $15,000 in supplemental income annually for four years, and such master teachers will train other teachers to improve classroom performance. There was no mention as to the source of the teacher stipends.

Establishing Innovative Zones to enhance the use of technology in teaching and learning. A competitive grant program will be established for school districts to propose innovative ways to use technology to enhance curriculum and improve student learning.

Creating a performance management system to improve accountability and transparency by establishing better ways to track progress and to identify areas of strength and weakness throughout the education system.

Incentivizing school district consolidation, regionalization, and shared services to provide educational services more efficiently. The governor proposes a review of existing incentives for consolidation to determine if they should be restructured or enhanced.


Governor Cuomo is expected to release his executive budget proposal for 2013-14, which will contain more specific details on proposed education funding in the upcoming year, on January 22.