Meeting of the Board of Regents | March 2010
THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
Strategic Planning Workgroup
David M. Steiner
Structuring the State Education Department to Support Success
February 22, 2010
Issue for Decision
Does the Board of Regents wish to affirm the recommendations of the Regents Strategic Planning Workgroup relating to (1) the integration of general education and special education within the Office of P-12 Education (EMSC) and (2) the integration of Vocational Rehabilitation (VESID) and the adult and continuing education units currently located within the Office of P-12 Education (EMSC) and the Office of Higher Education.
Reason(s) for Consideration
At its May 2009 meeting, the Board of Regents adopted the recommendations of the Regents Project Management Group (“PMO Group”) and directed the Commissioner and staff to examine how to structure the Department’s internal organization to best support the Regents’ goals of increasing access, opportunity and achievement for all students and closing achievement gaps. As described below, the integration and realignment of certain Department functions will help further the Regents’ aim of ensuring access and opportunity for graduation and post-secondary success for both children and adults.
This item will come before the Regents Strategic Planning Workgroup and the Full Board for action in March 2010.
At the Board’s January 2010 meeting, Chancellor Merryl Tisch formed the Regents Strategic Planning Workgroup, led by Regent James Tallon, to collaborate with Commissioner Steiner and Senior Deputy King in developing a strategic vision for the organization of the Department based on the recommendations advanced by the Regents PMO Group and adopted by the Board in May 2009.
That the Regents approve the attached recommendations concerning the structure of the State Education Department.
Timetable for Implementation
Preparation for the integration of General Education and Special Education and the integration of Workforce Development, Adult Education and Vocational Rehabilitation (VESID) would take place over the Spring of 2010 and be implemented on July 1, 2010.
At its May 2009 meeting, the Board approved the recommendations of the Regents PMO Group that (1) the Board reaffirm its commitment to a P-16 vision and strategy for SED, (2) the future pursuit of a P-16 strategy requires realignment of responsibilities for P-12, Special Education and Higher Education, and (3) for the Regents and SED to drive increases in achievement for all students, special education and general education should be integrated. The PMO Group recognized that further discussion would be necessary to address related issues, including the design and role of the Department’s Higher Education and VESID functions.
At the Board’s January 2010 meeting, Commissioner Steiner detailed the Department’s progress and plans to address the Board’s May 2009 recommendations, including (1) the appointments of Dr. John B. King, Jr., as Senior Deputy Commissioner for P-12 Education and Joseph P. Frey as Deputy Commissioner for Higher Education; and (2) the creation of several new leadership roles to further the Board’s goals, including Associate Commissioner for District Services, Assistant Commissioner for Accountability, Chief of Staff, and Assistant Commissioner for External Partnerships and Research. The creation of the Office of Innovative School Models (with responsibility for supporting district implementation of federal innovation/turnaround initiatives and overseeing the Regents authorization of charter schools), pursuant to the December 2009 Regents item on School Turnaround/Restart/Closure/Transformation Strategies and the New York State Race to the Top application, is similarly designed to advance both the May 2009 vision and the Regents reform agenda.
Commissioner Steiner and Senior Deputy Commissioner King have also translated the Theory of Action adopted by the Board in May 2009 into nine goals:
Goal 1: Aligned Rigorous Standards, Curriculum and Professional Development
Goal 2: World Class Formative and Summative Assessments
Goal 3: Improved Teacher Preparation and Effectiveness
Goal 4: Turning Around or Replacing Failing Schools
Goal 5: Raising Graduation Rates for At-Risk Students Through Secondary School Redesign
Goal 6: Improved School Leader Preparation and Effectiveness
Goal 7: Organizational Redesign: Service Orientation
Goal 8: Comprehensive P-20 Data System (including instructional reporting system)
Goal 9: Expanding and Improving Early Childhood Education
At the Board’s January 2010 meeting, Chancellor Tisch established the Regents Strategic Planning Workgroup to collaborate with Commissioner Steiner and Senior Deputy King in developing plans to further advance the Board’s May 2009 recommendations.
Recommendation 1: Integration of General Education and Special Education
As recommended by the PMO Group, the integration of special education into the Office of P-12 Education’s general education functions reflects the understanding that the issues related to improving student achievement through a focus on the instructional core – such as teaching, curriculum and assessment – affect all students. The nine goals also illustrate a commitment to the idea that, to successfully educate all students, a strong general education foundation is necessary and the Department’s efforts must be aligned to achieve that goal. Therefore, the integration of special education and general education functions within the Department is designed to achieve the following critical goals:
- To ensure that the needs of students with disabilities are considered and integrated in all policies developed by the various offices of SED;
- To retain the specialized knowledge and expertise that the Special Education Office now provides to address the needs of students with disabilities and to effectively implement its general supervisory responsibilities required by the IDEA. The expertise and advocacy for the protection of the rights of students with disabilities and their parents will be maximized and enhanced through this reorganization;
- To promote a more comprehensive approach across Department offices when addressing school compliance and improvement issues with individual school districts; and
- To provide greater efficiency in Department efforts by integrating functions which are currently duplicated in P-12 (EMSC) and special education, such as data collection and analysis, fiscal management and contracts, FOIL management and personnel transactions.
Implementation of this recommendation would include combining all P-12 education issues, including special education, under a new Regents P-12 Committee.
Recommendation 2: Integration of Workforce Development, Adult Education and Vocational Rehabilitation (VESID)
Building on issues discussed by the Regents PMO group, Commissioner Steiner recommends the creation of a new SED office known as the Office of Workforce Development, Adult Education and Vocational Rehabilitation (VESID) under a Deputy Commissioner. The four primary areas that would be aligned to form this new office include:
- Vocational Rehabilitation (currently part of VESID)
- Bureau of Proprietary School Supervision – non-degree-granting institutions (currently part of Higher Education)
- Adult Education and Workforce Development (currently part of P-12/EMSC)
- GED Test Administration (currently part of P-12/EMSC)
With their unique focus on the education and employment needs of New York State’s adult citizens, these areas share several vital interests and goals that can be best served through collaboration, including:
- To ensure that the needs of adults are met through efficient and effective access to relevant services, programs and opportunities offered by the Department;
- To encourage full participation of adults with disabilities in all of the Department’s programs and opportunities and to promote access to ensure that individuals with disabilities are empowered to maximize employment, economic self-sufficiency, independence, and inclusion and integration into the community;
- To enhance postsecondary transitions by developing the capacity of individuals to engage in postsecondary education leading to high-quality employment opportunities;
- To promote workforce investment through unified collaboration with the Department of Labor and State and local workforce investment boards to assure that individuals have access a “one-stop” source for a full range of services leading to high-quality employment opportunities;
- To support individuals experiencing poverty and relying on public services to develop their capacity to earn income and develop assets toward greater economic independence;
- To utilize a more comprehensive and effective representation for adults in coordinating services and program initiatives with agencies such as the Departments of Labor and Health, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the Office of Children and Family Services, SUNY and CUNY; and
- To provide greater efficiency in Department efforts by integrating functions, such as data collection and analysis, fiscal management and contracts, FOIL management and personnel transactions.
Implementation of this recommendation would include the establishment of a Regents Committee devoted to these initiatives. The Board of Regents monthly meetings frequently focus on topical issues that cut across all of the Department’s program areas and constituencies, such as curriculum and technology. A Regents Committee that focuses on Workforce Development, Adult Education and Vocational Rehabilitation would provide a platform at which the Board could explore the impact of topical issues and developments on the Department’s adult-oriented endeavors. In addition to providing a regular forum for the discussion of these issues, a Regents Committee could provide policy guidance and advocacy support in these areas. In the continuing national and State economic downturn, such support will be crucial to ensuring that the Department’s adult constituents are well-served and that the Department’s efforts in this area are both effective and efficient.