Meeting of the Board of Regents | October 2007
THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
David Miller, Chief of Staff
Final 2008 Regents Priority Legislation
October 19, 2007
Action to Implement Regents P-16 Strategic Plan and Regents 2008-09 Budget Proposal
Issue for Discussion
Final proposed list of Regents federal and state legislation for 2008.
Reason for Consideration
Implementation of the Regents P-16 Strategic Plan and 2008-09 budget proposal.
Approval at the October full board meeting.
Each year the Regents identify policy issues that will require legislation for implementation. Some are carried over from the previous year and some are new. Those requiring a state appropriation are included in the Regents budget proposal. The others are proposed for introduction during the legislative session. The process for developing legislative priorities is synchronized with the process for developing the Regents budget proposal.
The Regents priority federal and state legislative proposals for 2008 align with their P-16 Plan and propose new, reauthorized or extended statutory authority that would enable SED to carry out legislative mandates and Regents policy. The priorities include proposals for legislation needed to execute actions that would be required by the Regents 2008-09 budget priorities. Not all budget priorities would require legislation and not all the legislative priorities are related to the budget request.
Regents priority legislative proposals that are linked to their five state budget priorities are outlined below. Following this is a complete list of all the Regents legislative proposals, including those related to their budget priorities. Together, this is the Regents comprehensive federal and state advocacy package for 2008.
The Regents should approve the final list of 2008 priority legislation.
Timetable for Implementation
Approval at the October full board meeting.
Regents 2008 Legislative Proposals Linked To
Their 2008-09 Budget Priorities
The Regents vision of a New York in which all people are prepared for citizenship, work and continued learning is expressed in their dynamic strategy, P-16: A Plan for Action. The actions to implement this strategy draw on the strengths of SED and its education partners that combined will create transitions, from pre-kindergarten and elementary school, to middle school, then to high school and college, by improving systems and structures that support achievement.
Priority 1. Improve achievement for students in greatest need.
- State Priority: The Regents propose lowering the compulsory school age to 5 (it is now 6). This along with the Regents budget proposal to expand Foundation Formula funding of pre-kindergarten would enable children, especially those in greatest need, to receive the benefits of a good educational foundation earlier in life.
- Federal Priority: The federal Workforce Investment Act should be reauthorized to provide more opportunity for out-of-school youth to finish their education and graduate, and for adults to receive career and technical education and literacy services to prepare them for gainful employment. WIA reauthorization would help accomplish the Regents state aid budget priority of raising enrollment in approved career and technical education programs to better prepare a workforce for the future.
Priority 2: Reduce and then eliminate the inequitable distribution of teaching talent.
- State Priority: The Regents propose allowing retired teachers to teach in hard to staff schools and subjects without affecting their pension to fill the serious gap in teaching talent in the short term. At the same time, SED would implement the Regents budget priority of expanding alternative teacher certification and traditional teacher education programs through P-16 alliances to prepare 1,000 new teachers in three years.
Priority 3: Implement year 2 of P-16 accountability.
- State Priority: The Regents proposal to eliminate currently required duplicative and outdated school district reports would free up more time for school administrators to focus on improving educational outcomes for students. The Regents are proposing to create a P-16 data system that will connect the multiple systems to which school districts now must report information.
- Federal Priority: The federal No Child Behind Act should be reauthorized to align it with the Regents P-16 Plan. Among other revisions, it should allow states to use: Title I criteria alone to determine whether a school is in need of improvement; growth models; targeted interventions and differentiated consequences; assessments for different subpopulations of English language learners and students with disabilities; and pilot projects to improve teacher effectiveness.
Priority 4: Improve achievement by increasing student access to museums, cultural institutions, online information and libraries.
- State Priority: The Regents propose creating a Cultural and Museum Education Program that would fund partnerships with museums and cultural and science-based institutions and organizations to develop K-12 educational programs featuring hands-on experiences aligned with the state learning standards.
- Federal Priority: A federal bill called the Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries (SKILLs) Act would guarantee that students are served by highly qualified, state certified school library media specialists and have the library resources they need to succeed.
Priority 5: Enable more individuals with disabilities to live and work independently.
- Federal Priority: The Regents support federal legislation to prevent implementation of a federal policy that would deny reimbursement to low income students with disabilities for transportation to Medicaid services delivered in schools. Medicaid services enable these students to attend school, in an integrated environment, with their non-disabled peers. States are required to provide these services and New York state and school districts would have to pay approximately $44 million a year to replace current federal funding for transportation.
Complete List of Regents 2008 Legislative Proposals
- EMSC and VESID
1. Allow Retired Teachers to Teach in Hard to Staff Schools and Subjects Without Affecting Their Pension
Description: The Retirement and Social Security Law should be amended to permit retired public employees who hold a valid teaching certificate to teach subjects and in areas for which there is a shortage of teachers (math, science, bilingual education, special education) and in high needs schools without a cap on the salary they earn while also receiving a state pension. The state Commissioner of Education and the New York City Department of Education chancellor would have to certify the need for teachers, and the term of their employment would be limited. This would help relieve the statewide shortage of qualified teachers for these subjects, areas and schools.
History: First proposed in 1999. Supported by New York State United Teachers, New York State School Boards Association, New York State Council of School Superintendents and New York City Department of Education. (S.5752-Saland/A.9075-A-Abbate)
Alignment with Regents P-16 Plan: P. 11 (#7): Strengthen instruction. Ensure all students are taught by qualified, certified teachers. Expand the pool of qualified teachers in areas where they are needed most. P. 5 (#2) & P. 6 (#3): Improve academic outcomes for children with disabilities and English language learners by holding schools accountable for dramatic improvements.
2. Strengthen Early Childhood Education
Description: The Regents state aid proposal will recommend funding for full-day kindergarten and lowering the compulsory school age to 5 (it is now 6). Current law makes kindergarten optional and allows school districts to offer only half-day kindergarten programs. Legislation is needed to mandate a compulsory school age of 5.
History: First proposed in 2006. The 2007-08 enacted budget did not mandate a lower compulsory school age.
Alignment with Regents P-16 Plan: P. 4 (#1): Promote a sustainable early education program for all students.
3. Reduce the Number of Required School District Reports
Description: A substantial portion of the reporting and planning requirements imposed on school districts by state statute should be eliminated if they are duplicative or outdated. Legislation is needed to allow SED to review its regulations and eliminate those that are duplicative or unnecessary. This would be done in conjunction with the Regents proposal to create a streamlined and unified P-16 data collection system. Plans and reports would be limited to those necessary to carry out critical state interests such as: maintaining accountability, closing the gap between expected and actual student achievement and protecting health and safety in schools. Federal statutory requirements would be streamlined where possible and state and federal requirements would be aligned. The net effect would be to require data reporting to only one source and continuously improve data collection.
History: New in 2004. (A.8687-Nolan/S.1773-A-Saland)
Alignment with Regents P-16 Plan: Would allow school districts more time to focus on implementing P-16 Plan actions.
4. Eliminate the BOCES District Superintendents of Schools Salary Cap
Description: An amendment to existing statute is needed to allow local control of BOCES district superintendents’ salaries to attract the most qualified candidates for these positions.
History: New proposal.
Alignment with Regents P-16 Plan: This would install experienced, qualified leaders as district superintendents, thus enabling sound implementation of the P-16 plan.
1. Reauthorize the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act
Description: NCLB expires in 2007 and must be reauthorized. The Regents have submitted comprehensive recommendations to Congress to reform NCLB to ensure improvements are made that align it with the Regents P-16 agenda. The Regents have identified five high priority issues:
- Single Accountability Designation: Permit states to use Title I criteria alone, including the assessments of student subgroups, to determine when a school or district is in need of improvement. Additional measurements under Title III and IDEA should be used only to determine additional needs of special populations.
- Growth Models: Give states the option of using a growth model, a status model or a combination of both to determine Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).
- Targeted Interventions and Differentiated Consequences: Permit schools to target remediation or interventions to the subgroups of students who are not achieving Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) rather than requiring that an entire school or district be subject to intervention.
- Assessments for Special Populations (English Language Learners and Students with Disabilities): Permit states to develop valid and reliable assessments for different sub-populations of ELLs and students with disabilities that will lead to more effective interventions.
- Highly Qualified Teachers (HQT): Continue to support states’ efforts to meet reasonable HQT goals and provide incentives for states to pilot approaches to improve teacher effectiveness.
The Regents additional recommendations focus on school readiness, school safety, school choice and Supplemental Education Services (SES), additional time for special populations to graduate, Response to Intervention (RtI), Early Intervention Services (EIS), sanctions, due process, and refocusing the Enhancing Education Through Technology program to increase the effective use of technology to improve teaching and learning.
In addition, the Regents have called for full funding of NCLB with emphasis on: Title I, school improvement grants, state assessment grants, state data systems, Title V grants for innovative programs, teacher quality grants, Safe and Drug-Free Schools, Reading First & Early Reading First, Even Start, and 21st Century Community Learning Center grants.
History: Enacted into law in 2002. The House issued a “discussion draft” bill for comment and just released a formal bill. The Senate will follow. A two-house reauthorization bill may not be passed before this year’s session adjourns. Both the House and Senate appropriations committees approved increases in many NCLB programs for federal fiscal year 2008.
Alignment with Regents P-16 Plan: P. 10 (#6): Raise the learning standards to exceed global standards so all students graduate ready for citizenship, work, and continued education. Align standards, assessments, curriculum and instruction across P-16, emphasizing transitions between high school and college, and high school and the workforce.
P. 14 (#9): Strengthen the capacity of the State Education Department to support schools as they work to improve student achievement and the Department’s capacity to hold them accountable for doing so.
P. 15 (#10): Create a P-16 data system to drive improvements in graduation rates in high school and higher education.
2. Amend the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Highly Qualified Teacher Provision
Description: IDEA ensures that children with disabilities get the services they need. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth. Social studies should be added to the list of qualifying subjects for first year special education teachers to meet Highly Qualified Teacher requirements. IDEA should be fully funded, including state grants.
History: Revision to 2004 statute needed. Annual appropriations required. Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees approved small increases, to $11.2 billion, for IDEA state grants for federal fiscal year 2008. State grants were funded at $10.8 billion in FY 2007.
Alignment with Regents P-16 Plan: P. 5 (#2): Improve academic outcomes for children with disabilities by setting performance targets, promoting effective practices and holding schools accountable for dramatic improvements.
3. Reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA)
Description: WIA connects the parts of the education system that address out-of-school youth and adults (vocational rehabilitation, adult education and family literacy, and postsecondary vocational and technical education) with workforce development. Priority issues are to:
- Create new line item appropriation or renew New York’s authority to oversee one-stop infrastructure funding
- Maintain program balance between in-school and out-of-school youth & simplify eligibility requirements
- Expand state workforce investment boards to include representative for persons with disabilities and maintain their representation on local boards
- Create new grant program for states with high performing adult education systems
- Increase percentage of funding permitted for state leadership activities
- Maintain maintenance of effort requirements
- Create health literacy program
- Establish new funding source to enhance transition services for students with disabilities
- Revise funding formula for vocational rehabilitation state grants
- Increase funding for adult education state grants
History: WIA is overdue for reauthorization. The Senate Appropriations Committee provided level funding for federal fiscal year 2008 of $564 million for Adult Education State Grants; the House Appropriations Committee increased funding to $589 million.
Alignment with Regents P-16 Plan: P. 10 (#6): Will enable students to be ready for citizenship, work and continued education. P. 6 (#2): Increase the number of students with disabilities transitioning directly from high schools to vocational rehabilitation training programs, employment and/or college.
4. Maintain Medicaid reimbursement for school-based services to students with disabilities, including for administrative and transportation services
Description: Low income students with disabilities are entitled to Medicaid reimbursement for certain health-related services that enable them to attend school with their non-disabled peers. These services are mandated by federal law. The federal government has issued draft regulations that would discontinue Medicaid reimbursement for these services. States or school districts would have to assume this expense. The loss to New York would be in excess of $44 million a year. In addition, adequate funding is needed for Medicaid so school districts can provide these services.
History: Commissioner Mills wrote to US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt in 2006 opposing the elimination of these reimbursements and urging full funding of IDEA, which in connection with adequate Medicaid funding would enable students with disabilities to receive the health-related services they need. The Protecting Children's Health in Schools Act has been introduced in the House (HR 1017) and Senate (S 578) to require the federal government to provide reimbursement for school-based services.
Alignment with Regents P-16 Plan: Will enable low income students with disabilities to attend school and graduate.
5. Secure Continuation of the E-rate Program
Description: The E-rate program provides funding to telecommunications vendors to support discounts to schools and libraries for telecommunications, Internet access and internal connections (cables and network infrastructure). The discount rate depends on schools’ and libraries’ participation in the National School Lunch Program and their urban/rural status. Annual requests for E-rate funding exceed the funds available. For the past nine years, New York has received an average of $12.7 million.
History: Permanent exemption from the federal Anti-deficiency Act is needed for this program to operate efficiently. It has been operating under a series of temporary exemptions. It must be protected so all school districts and libraries are able to purchase the telecommunications equipment they need.
Alignment with Regents P-16 Plan: P. 11 (#7): Accelerate the integration of technology into teaching and learning practices in P-16 institutions.
6. Reauthorize Head Start
Description: Head Start promotes school readiness by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children through educational, health, nutritional, social and other services to enrolled children and families. The Head Start program provides grants to local public and private non-profit and for-profit agencies to provide comprehensive child development services to economically disadvantaged children and families, with a special focus on helping preschoolers develop the early reading and math skills they need to be successful in school. Head Start funding should be allowed to be used for all state-approved pre-kindergarten programs. Standards, curriculum, assessment and data reporting in pre-kindergarten and early education programs should be coordinated with state and local education agencies. The program must be fully funded so all eligible children can be served.
History: The House passed a reauthorization bill in May; the Senate passed a bill in June. Annual appropriations are needed. The House Appropriations Committee approved an additional $75 million for Head Start in federal fiscal year 2008 for a total of $6.96 billion; the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a total of $7.1 billion.
Alignment with Regents P-16 Plan: P. 4 (#1): Promote a sustainable early education program for all students. Resolve issues of standards, funding and service delivery for young children.
- Higher Education
1. Update Statutory Requirements for Regulating Oversight of Proprietary Schools
Description: Legislation is needed to increase and adjusted the current fees and fines to support SED’s oversight of non-degree granting proprietary schools. This will protect students from illegal and unethical practices, create a candidacy school program to eliminate unlicensed schools, and create a disbursement schedule for private lenders that are required to reimburse students from the Tuition Reimbursement Account when schools go bankrupt or are in financial difficulty.
History: First proposed in 2006.
Alignment with Regents P-16 Plan: P. 10 (#5): Monitor high risk institutions and take action when standards are not met.
2. Provide TAP For Incarcerated Persons
Description: Would make incarcerated persons enrolled in higher education eligible to receive aid under the state’s Tuition Assistance Program.
History: New proposal.
Alignment with Regents P-16 Plan: P. 9 (#5): Seek additional state investment to expand financial aid for needy students.
Reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA)
Description: HEA supports states’ efforts to extend educational opportunity and maintain a highly skilled workforce and citizenry. It funds student financial assistance, early outreach and student services, teacher quality development and postsecondary institutions. Recommendations include: expand college access; expand preparation and professional development programs for school personnel; align highly qualified teacher reporting requirements with No Child Left Behind; and establish a TRIO program option for students with disabilities who face socioeconomic and related barriers to higher education. Sufficient funding is needed for: Pell grants (tuition aid), Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG); Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP), Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program (GEAR UP) and TRIO. LEAP, GEAR UP and TRIO provide funds to help low income and at-risk youth prepare for and succeed in undergraduate and graduate study. Programs must be fully funded.
History: Reauthorization is being done through two separate bills. HR 2669, which governs student aid, became law in September. The House Education and Labor Committee is tentatively scheduled to consider additional provisions in the fall. The Senate approved S 1642, HEA reauthorization in July. The current law has been extended through October 31, 2007. HEA requires an annual appropriation. Both the House and Senate appropriations committees approved increased funding for Pell grants, GEAR UP, and TRIO for federal fiscal year 2008 and restored funding for other college access programs.
Alignment with Regents P-16 Plan: P. 9 (#5): Increase investment in [college] programs that have been shown to remove barriers to graduation. P. 8 (#4): Promote good practices statewide to improve college graduation rates among low income students.
OFFICE OF THE PROFESSIONS
1. Authority to Charge a Fee to Enforce the Prosecution of Illegal Practice of the Professions
Description: Chapter 615 of the Laws of 2003 gave SED the authority to prosecute illegal practice but did not provide funding. Designated funding is an imperative for implementing the required activities. SED needs statutory authority to impose a $10 surcharge on triennial registrations and re-registrations. The fee is expected to generate roughly $2 million annually. A coalition of associations representing 750,000 professionals supports this fee.
History: First proposed in 1999. (A.1928-Canestrari).
Alignment with Regents P-16 Plan: Not addressed directly. Will protect the public from harm by unlicensed professionals.
2. Update the Public Accountancy Statute
Description: The practice of public accountancy has evolved to include professional services and practices that were not offered when the current statute was enacted in 1947. The definition of practice should be expanded through legislation to include all types of professional services that reflect contemporary business practices, including tax return preparation, financial planning, management consulting, investment management and the like, would strengthen public protection.
History: First proposed in 1999.
Alignment with Regents P-16 Plan: Not addressed directly. Will protect the public who use the services of public accountants.
OFFICE OF CULTURAL EDUCATION
1. Cultural and Museum Education Program
Description: New York’s arts, cultural and science museums, institutions and organizations should be encouraged to create K-12 educational programs aligned with the state learning standards, support innovative teaching strategies for learning 21st century skills, and provide access for all New York students to the state’s cultural heritage. The emphasis in this program would be on hands-on experiential learning for students and professional development for teachers. Cultural and arts institutions, natural history and other science organizations and museums would be eligible for grants for education programs aligned with the state learning standards. This proposal would provide formula funding for eligible organizations as well as competitive grants to museums and performing arts and other cultural institutions and organizations. Legislation is needed to define eligible partnerships and create the grant program.
History: New proposal in 2007. Regents increased funding level and broadened title and scope. (A.8685-Nolan/S.5781-Saland)
Alignment with the Regents P-16 Plan: P. 5 (#1): Increase literacy of children & parents by expanding programs in museums. P. 10 (#6): Raise the learning standards to exceed global standards so all students graduate ready for citizenship, work and continued education.
2. Criminal History Checks for Office of Cultural Education Employees & Volunteers
Description: Legislation is needed to require OCE employees and volunteers to be fingerprinted as a condition of employment or acceptance as a volunteer. This would protect children and students who tour the State Museum, State Archives and State Library and reduce the possibility of theft of valuable and irreplaceable items and artifacts.
History: First proposed in 2006. (A.8683-Nolan/S.4331/Saland)
Alignment with Regents P-16 Plan: Not addressed directly. Needed to protect students and others who visit the State Museum, State Archives and State Library.
1. Reauthorize the Museum and Library Services Act
Description: New York’s libraries use MLSA grant funds to sustain services for their communities. Grant amounts to states are based on population. New York’s population is not increasing at the same rate as other states. Full funding is needed so libraries can improve services to underserved areas and provide information resources such as computers and Internet access, coordinated programs for digitization and digital archiving, shared electronic catalogs, high speed broadband telecommunications and 24/7 online reference and resource sharing services. Funding level should be adequate for the need.
History: Reauthorization is due in 2008. An annual appropriation is required. The House Appropriations Committee approved $254 million for federal fiscal year 2008; the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $268 million. It was funded at $247 million in FY 2007
Alignment with Regents P-16 Plan: P. 5 (#1): Increase literacy of children & parents by expanding programs in museums.
2. Fund Public Education Programs
Description: Funding must continue for these programs: Corporation for Public Broadcasting; Public Telecommunications Facilities, Planning and Construction; Rural Utilities Services Digital Transition; National Historical Publications & Records Commission; Partnership for the American Historical Record; Library of Congress National Digital Information Infrastructure Preservation; Improving Literacy Through School Libraries; Star Schools. Funding level should be adequate for the need.
History: Annual appropriations needed. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees both approved funding of $420 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for federal fiscal year 2010, a $20 million increase, and close to doubled funding for FY 2008 for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, to $10 million. Improving Literacy Through School Libraries was level funded, at $19.5 million, by both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees.
Alignment with Regents P-16 Plan: P. 10 (#6): Will contribute to aligning standards, assessments, curriculum and instruction across P-16, emphasizing transitions between high school and college, and high school and the workforce so all students graduate ready for citizenship, work and continued education.
3. Support Public Television’s “Ready to Compete” Agenda
Description: Funding is needed to sustain Ready to Learn and Ready to Teach, and to create Ready to Achieve (Math, Science, Technology and Innovation), Ready to Earn (Workforce Training and Adult Education) and Ready to Thrive (Public Health). Funding level should be adequate for the need.
History: New authorizations and reauthorizations needed. Annual and new appropriations needed. Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees approved level funding of $24.3 million for Ready to Learn and $10.9 million for Ready to Teach for federal fiscal year 2008.
Alignment with Regents P-16 Plan: P. 10 (#6): Raise the learning standards to exceed global standards so all students graduate ready for citizenship, work and continued education.
4. Support Strong School Libraries
Description: Support the Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries (SKILLs) Act (HR 2864 and S1699), which would guarantee that students would be served by highly qualified, state certified school library media specialists and have the library resources they need to succeed. The SKILLs Act would ensure that: library funds would be available to serve students in elementary, middle and high schools throughout the nation; appropriate books and materials would be available for students at all grade levels, including those with special learning needs and those learning English as a second language; and highly qualified school library media specialists would be available to support all students’ learning needs. Today only 60 percent of school libraries have full-time, state-certified school library media specialists on staff.
History: New. Introduced in Congress June 26, 2007. This bill amends provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 regarding school library media specialists, and also reauthorizes and strengthens the Information Literacy Through School Libraries Program of the No Child Left Behind Act.
Alignment with Regents P-16 Plan: (#1): Increase literacy of children & parents by expanding programs in libraries. P. 10 (#6): Raise the learning standards to exceed global standards so all students graduate ready for citizenship, work and continued education.
5. Support the Partnership for the American Historical Record Initiative
Description: Congress is expected to introduce legislation next year to create the Partnership for the American Historical Record. This initiative would increase federal support for state and local archival records held by state and local governments, historical societies, libraries and related organizations. Funding would be distributed through each state’s archives, based on a formula and in alignment with priorities established by that state.
History: To date, the only federal funding available for archival and historical records programs has been a nationally competitive program of $5 million annually, increased to $10 million for FY 2008 by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, through the National Historical Publications and Records Commission of the National Archives. Unlike libraries and museums, there has been no regular funding to support programs in each state.
Alignment with Regents P-16 Plan: P. 10 (#6): Raise the learning standards to exceed global standards so all students graduate ready for citizenship, work and continued education. This initiative will ensure that primary resources for education will be identified, preserved and accessible.