THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234

 

TO:

The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents

FROM:

Johanna Duncan-Poitier

 

 

 

COMMITTEE:

Higher Education and Professional Practice

TITLE OF ITEM:

Proposed Amendment to the Rules of the Board of Regents and the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education Relating to Requirements for the Conferral of a College Degree and the Home Instruction of Students of Compulsory Attendance Age and College Study

DATE OF SUBMISSION:

July 30, 2004

PROPOSED HANDLING:

Approval (Consent Agenda)

RATIONALE FOR ITEM:

To implement policy

STRATEGIC GOAL:

Goal 1

AUTHORIZATION(S):

 

 

SUMMARY:

 

          Attached for approval is a proposed amendment to section 3.47 of the Rules of the Board of Regents and section 100.10 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, relating to requirements for the conferral of a college degree and the home instruction of students of compulsory school age and college study.  Supporting materials for the proposed amendments are available upon request from the Secretary to the Board of Regents.

 

The purpose of the proposed amendment is to establish alternatives to the requirement that a candidate for a college degree hold a high school diploma, repeal the requirement that a student must have completed at least a four-year high school course or its equivalent before beginning degree study, require students who seek to meet compulsory educational requirements through full-time college study to obtain the approval of the school district, and establish requirements relating to the home instruction of students of compulsory attendance age and college study.

 

At the March and May 2004 meetings of the Board of Regents, the Department reviewed recommendations for changes in section 3.47 relating to requirements for the conferral of a college degree for students who have not obtained a high school diploma or a high school equivalency diploma.  Discussion centered on students who were instructed at home.  Also discussed were proposed changes in section 100.10 relating to home instruction.

 

As amended, section 3.47 would include the following recommended pathways for students who are beyond compulsory school age* in order for them to receive a college degree in New York State:

 

       Possession of a high school diploma; or

 

       Receipt of a letter from the superintendent of schools documenting equivalency of instruction to a high school program; or

 

       Receipt of a high school equivalency diploma; or

 

       Completion of 24 semester hours of college coursework (i.e., 6 credits in English/Language Arts, 3 credits in Mathematics, 3 credits in Natural Sciences, 3 credits in Social Sciences, 3 credits in Humanities, and 6 credits in courses within the registered program); or

 

       Possession of a previous college degree; or

 

       Passage of the five Regents examinations or approved alternatives required for a high school diploma.

 

At the June 2004 Regents meeting, there was further discussion of the proposed changes which included an adjustment to section 3.47 relating to the preliminary requirements for college admission for students subject to the compulsory educational requirements. The proposed amendment was revised to relate only to those students of compulsory school age studying full-time in college in lieu of attending high school. Prior to enrolling, such students must submit to the college a valid and in effect individualized home instruction plan (IHIP) that authorizes full-time college study.  Section 100.10 of Commissionerís Regulations was revised as well to relate only to students seeking to meet compulsory educational requirements through full-time college study. 

 

The recommended revisions took into account and sought to accommodate comments and suggestions on the draft regulations received from members of the Board as well as from the general public and other interested parties.   The attached Assessment of Public Comment was published in the State Register on July 14, 2004.  

 

At the September Regents meeting, the EMSC-VESID Committee is considering for approval an amendment to sections 8.2 and 8.3 of the Regents Rules pertaining to access to Regents examinations and to section 100.7 of Commissionerís Regulations pertaining to the 24-credit course distribution needed to qualify for a high school equivalency diploma.  These changes would help to implement this proposed amendment by requiring principals of public schools to admit to Regents examinations a candidate who is a school district resident and who seeks to take such examinations for the purpose of meeting the requirements for an earned degree pursuant to Regents Rule section 3.47(a)(2).  It also changes the distribution of the 24-semester hours needed to satisfy high school equivalency diploma requirements to be consistent with the 24-semester hour pathway that students beyond the compulsory school age may use to demonstrate preliminary education for obtaining a college degree.

 

I recommend that the Board of Regents take the following action:

 

VOTED: That subdivisions (a) and (b) of section 3.47 of the Rules of the Board of Regents be repealed and new subdivisions (a) and (b) be added; and that subdivision (d) of section 100.10 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education be amended, as submitted, effective September 30, 2004.

 

 

 

Attachments


AMENDMENT TO THE RULES OF THE BOARD OF REGENTS AND REGULATIONS OF THE COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION

          Pursuant to sections 207, 210, 218, 224, 3204, 3205, 3210, 3212, and 3234 of the Education Law. 

1.  Subdivisions (a) and (b) of section 3.47 of the Rules of the Board of Regents are repealed and new subdivisions (a) and (b) are added, effective September 30, 2004, as follows:

(a) General requirements.

(1) No earned degree shall be conferred in this State on any person who has not completed the program of study requisite to such degree, which institution shall be authorized to confer the same.  No earned undergraduate or graduate degree shall be conferred unless the applicant has completed a program registered by the department.

(2) No earned degree shall be conferred unless the candidate has met the requirements of subparagraphs (i) or (ii) of this paragraph. 

 (i) Candidates who are of compulsory school age, pursuant to section 3205 of the Education Law or other requirement of law, shall provide the degree-granting institution with satisfactory evidence of meeting one of the following requirements:

(a) holding a high school diploma; or

(b) having completed the substantial equivalent of a four-year high school course, as certified by the superintendent of schools or comparable chief school administrator of the candidate's school district of residence at the time such course was completed.

(ii) Candidates who are beyond compulsory school age, pursuant to section 3205 of the Education Law or other requirement of law, shall provide the degree-granting institution with satisfactory evidence of meeting one of the following requirements:

(a) holding a high school diploma; or

(b) having completed the substantial equivalent of a four-year high school course, as certified by the superintendent of schools or comparable chief school administrator of the candidate's school district of residence at the time such course was completed; or

(c) holding a New York State high school equivalency diploma in accordance with the requirements of section 100.7 of this Title, or a local high school equivalency diploma in accordance with the requirements of section 100.8 of this Title, or a high school equivalency diploma issued by another state of the United States or an authorized local government of such state, or a high school equivalency diploma based on passing the General Educational Development (GED) test or its successor examination, or a high school equivalency diploma based upon completing requirements that are substantially equivalent to the requirements for a New York State high school equivalency diploma as prescribed in section 100.7 of this Title; or

(d) having successfully completed 24 semester hours or the equivalent as a recognized candidate for a college-level degree or certificate at a degree-granting institution as defined in clause (e) of this subparagraph, distributed as follows: six semester hours or the equivalent in English language arts, including writing, speaking and reading (literature);  three semester hours or the equivalent in mathematics; three semester hours or the equivalent in natural sciences; three semester hours or the equivalent in social sciences; three semester hours or the equivalent in humanities; and six semester hours or the equivalent in any other courses within the registered degree or certificate program, all as verified by the institution conferring the degree; or

(e) having previously earned and been granted a degree from a degree-granting institution accredited by an accrediting agency approved by the United States Department of Education, pursuant to 20 USC 1099b; or from a postsecondary institution authorized by the Board of Regents to confer degrees; or from a degree-granting institution located in a jurisdiction outside the United States that is approved, authorized, or recognized by the jurisdiction's ministry of education or other governmental agency responsible for higher education; or

(f) having passed and successfully completed all requirements for the following Regents examinations or the approved alternative assessments for these examinations, pursuant to section 100.2(f) of this Title: the Regents Comprehensive Examination in English, the Regents examination in mathematics, the Regents examination in United States history and government, a Regents examination in science, and the Regents examination in global history and geography.  For purposes of this clause, the passing score on the Regents examinations shall be 65 or, where applicable, a score of 55-64 as determined by the school district of residence, pursuant to section 100.5(a)(5)(i) of this Title.    

(b) Preliminary requirement.  Prior to enrolling, a student who seeks to meet the compulsory educational requirements of Education Law section 3205 through full-time study at a degree-granting institution, meaning enrollment for at least 12 semester hours in a semester or its equivalent, shall submit to the institution a valid and in effect individualized home instruction plan (IHIP), pursuant to section 100.10 of this Title, that authorizes such full-time study. 

          2.  Subdivision (d) of section 100.10 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education is amended, effective September 30, 2004, as follows:

          (d) Content of individualized home instruction plan (IHIP).  Each child's IHIP shall contain:

          (1) . . .

          (2) . . .

          (3) the dates for submission to the school district of the parents' quarterly reports as required in subdivision (g) of this section.  These reports shall be spaced in even and logical periods; [and]

          (4) the names of the individuals providing instruction; and

          (5) a statement that the child will be meeting the compulsory educational requirements of Education Law section 3205 through full-time study at a degree-granting institution, meaning enrollment for at least 12 semester hours in a semester or its equivalent, if that is the case.  In this situation, the IHIP shall identify the degree-granting institution and the subjects to be covered by that study. 


PROPOSED REPEAL AND PROMULGATION OF SUBDIVISIONS (a) and (b) OF SECTION 3.47 OF THE RULES OF THE BOARD OF REGENTS AND AMENDMENT TO SUBDIVISION (d) of SECTION 100.10 OF THE REGULATIONS OF THE COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION PURSUANT TO SECTIONS 207, 210, 218, 224, 3204, 3205, 3210, 3212 AND 3234 OF THE EDUCATION LAW RELATING TO REQUIREMENTS FOR THE CONFERRAL OF A COLLEGE DEGREE AND THE HOME INSTRUCTION OF STUDENTS OF COMPULSORY ATTENDANCE AGE AND COLLEGE STUDY

ASSESSMENT OF ISSUES RAISED BY PUBLIC COMMENT

          Since publication of the proposed rule in the State Register on March 3, 2004, the State Education Department (SED) received the following comments:

COMMENT:  The present home instruction process works effectively and the regulation is not needed. 

RESPONSE:  The regulation is needed to permit students beyond compulsory school age to demonstrate preliminary education to qualify for a college degree, through a variety of means:  high school diploma, certification of the superintendent of completion of the substantial equivalent of a four-year high school program, high school equivalency diploma, completion of specified college coursework, previous earned college degree, or passing five Regents examinations.  The regulation establishes a reasonable and flexible standard for demonstrating this preliminary education.   

The regulation is also needed to ensure that students subject to compulsory education requirements and seeking to meet those requirements through full-time college study have the approval of the school district through an Individualized Home Instruction Plan (IHIP).

COMMENT: The regulation would create additional opportunities for home school students to be eligible for a college degree without ensuring that the student has obtained a high school diploma or its equivalent.

RESPONSE:  The regulation provides a reasonable standard for a college student to demonstrate preliminary education before the student may receive a college degree.  Students of compulsory school age must demonstrate that they hold a high school diploma or have completed the substantial equivalent of a four-year high school course through a certification by the superintendent of schools.  Students beyond compulsory school age are offered five alternatives for demonstrating the preliminary education, as specified above. 

COMMENT: The current restrictions on student access to college programs should be removed.  College courses should be open to any student who is ready to benefit from college.

          RESPONSE:  The amendment actually eases regulatory requirements for admission to college by deleting the requirement that students must have completed a four-year high school course or its equivalent before beginning degree study.   SED does not believe this requirement necessary because Commissioner's regulations already require colleges to take into account the capacity of the student to undertake the programs of study, prior to admission.   Also, the change resolves a conflict in the regulations.  Commissioner's regulations section 100.7 permits a student to earn a high school equivalency diploma through college study.

COMMENT: The regulation provides no options for students who cannot or will not obtain either the GED or the certification from their local school district, particularly those who are of compulsory school age.  An alternative route should be provided that does not force superintendents to get involved, such as standardized test scores.

RESPONSE:   Students beyond compulsory school age may show preliminary education for obtaining a college degree through five options.  (The regulation has been revised to add the fifth, passing five Regents examinations.)  Students who are of compulsory school age must show that they hold a high school diploma or have completed the substantial equivalent of a four-year high school course of study before they may obtain a college degree because they are required by law to be in high school or home schooled unless they have already completed their high school course of study.

COMMENT: My understanding is that a student will never be allowed to graduate from a college in New York without passing the GED.

RESPONSE:  The comment is mistaken.  The regulation expands the options for demonstrating preliminary education in order to qualify for a college degree.  A student need not pass the GED, as suggested. Students beyond compulsory school age may also show preliminary education through completion specified college course work, passing five Regents examinations, and having previously earned a degree.

COMMENT: Practically, school districts do not have the ability to certify that home instruction is equivalent to a high school course of study.  School districts do not have the authority to oversee home instruction.

RESPONSE:  Education Law sections 3204(2) and 3210(2)(d) require that instruction given to a minor elsewhere than at a public school shall be substantially equivalent to instruction given in the public school.   Section 100.10 of Commissioner's regulations requires a school district to review and approve the instructional plan (IHIP) of students of compulsory school age in meeting its responsibility of determining substantial equivalence of instruction being provided at home to students of compulsory school age.  For students of compulsory school age, the superintendent has responsibility for determining whether the students have achieved the substantial equivalent of a four-year high school course of study. 

          COMMENT:  The superintendent's certification as to the completion of the equivalent of a four-year high school course should certify to the  "substantial equivalent" rather than the "equivalent".  

RESPONSE:  In response to this comment, the regulation has been revised to use the phrase "substantially equivalent" for the certification by the superintendent.

COMMENT: Home school regulations should be brought into alignment with the Regents higher standards by requiring that home school students pass the required Regents assessments.

RESPONSE:  Education Law sections 3204(2) and 3210(2)(d) require that instruction given to a minor elsewhere than at a public school shall be substantially equivalent to instruction given in the public school.   Section 100.10 of Commissioner's regulations require superintendents to review and approve the IHIP of students of compulsory school age, based upon standards in that regulation, and requires parents file an annual assessment showing their child's progress.  SED does not believe additional changes in the requirements for home schooled students is warranted.

COMMENT:  SED should allow home-schooled students to take Regents level examinations.

RESPONSE:  The regulation, as revised, permits a student who is beyond compulsory school age to demonstrate preliminary education through passing five specified Regents examinations.    A coordinating regulation is planned to require school districts to permit district residents who are not students in schools of the district to take the Regents examinations.

COMMENT: The regulation discriminates against home schooled students because it requires them: to complete programs that are registered by SED; obtain permission from the superintendent before they are allowed to take college courses, and obtain certification from a superintendent in lieu of a Regents diploma or GED.  Requiring superintendent's approval to take college courses is burdensome to school districts and colleges.

RESPONSE:  The comment is mistaken.  First, the reference to registered programs in the regulations refers to college degree programs.  All such programs must be registered with SED, pursuant to Part 52 of the Commissioner's regulations.  Second, the regulation originally required the superintendent's approval when any student of compulsory school age wanted to take a college course during the normal instructional year or hours of session of the public school.  The regulation has been revised to require school district approval only when the student is seeking to meet compulsory education requirements through full-time college study.  This requirement is reasonable and ensures that students are meeting the compulsory education requirements.  It will not be overly burdensome on school districts or colleges because few students will be meeting compulsory education requirements through full-time college study. Third, the regulation requires students of compulsory school age to have a high school diploma or demonstrate completion of the substantial equivalent of a four-year high school program through the superintendent's certification before they may obtain a college degree.  Students beyond compulsory school age may show preliminary education through five alternatives.     

          COMMENT:  The regulation discriminates against home-schooled students because it requires them to have a GED for matriculation or admission to college.  The GED carries a stigma.  We urge the adoption of a new regulation that would use the student's SAT or ACT scores and a self-certified transcript and diploma as proof of high school graduation. 

          RESPONSE:  The comment is mistaken.  The regulation actually removes the requirement in Regents Rules that the student must complete a four-year high school course or its equivalent before beginning the course of study for a degree.  However, there is a separate requirement in Education Law section 661(4)(c) that requires a student to have a certificate of graduation from a secondary school or the recognized equivalent of such certificate or have passed a Federally approved ability to benefit test in order to qualify for State student financial aid.   The regulation at issue does not implement that requirement. 

Instead of prescribing college admission requirements, the regulation prescribes requirements before a college degree may be conferred on a student, ensuring a preliminary education.   Students of compulsory school age must show that they have completed a four-year high school course because the law requires them to be meeting the compulsory education requirements through high school attendance or home schooling unless they have already completed a four-year high school course of study.     Students beyond compulsory school age are given the opportunity to show this preliminary education through five alternatives.  The regulation provides such students who believe that there is a stigma associated with the GED with alternative means for showing a preliminary education.

          COMMENT: College enrollment deadlines and IHIP schedules are not in sync.  The need for an approval letter to register for college courses will impose cumbersome logistical problems on parents and superintendents.

          RESPONSE:  As revised, the regulations will require students who seek to meet compulsory education requirements through full-time college study to include that intention in their IHIP.  This requirement is expected to affect few students, and SED will provide guidance to school districts on how to handle the expeditious approval of the IHIP in these situations.

COMMENT: The requirement that the IHIP contain a description of the college subjects that will be studied by the home instructed student in the school year is unreasonable because students may not know this when preparing the IHIP.

          RESPONSE: The requirement, as revised, only applies to students seeking to meet the compulsory education requirements through full-time college study.  It is not unreasonable to require such students to specify in their IHIP the subjects to be covered by that study.

          COMMENT:  The regulation will drive well qualified home instructed students to other states for their college study.

          RESPONSE:  The regulation will provide additional flexibility for demonstrating preliminary education, and will in fact make it easier for home-schooled students to demonstrate such education.       

          COMMENT: SED is an administrative body and has overstepped its authority. These matters should be addressed by the legislature, not be appointed officials.

RESPONSE: SED has statutory authority to establish in regulation requirements for college degrees and for the education of students of compulsory school age, the subject of the regulation.



* Compulsory school age is from age 6 to the end of the school year when a student turns 16 (17 in New York City).