THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents
James A. Kadamus
TITLE OF ITEM:
Strategies to Close the Gaps in Student Academic Performance in Urban Areas of New York State
DATE OF SUBMISSION:
June 30, 2004
RATIONALE FOR ITEM:
Goal 1, 2 and 3
In September 2003, we provided you with an update on initiatives and strategies for school improvement. They encompassed: identifying low-performing schools; organizing EMSC staff to assist identified schools and school districts; and assisting the field.
Since reporting to you last year, we have had a series of Department-wide discussions, based on experience and research, on how the State can best assist urban school districts to close the gaps in student academic performance, with the primary focus on improving classroom learning. As a result, the attached report presents key strategies on the State role in levering change to close the gaps, including: systems alignments and coherence; generation and dissemination of instructional knowledge; creating programs and strategies for students in the gaps; enhancing school improvement, accountability and fiscal integrity of school districts; and development of instructional leadership and practice at all levels. Also presented, for your consideration, are three policy issues related to the strategies.
Accompanying the July urban strategies discussion will be a video presentation with students, parents, teachers and administrators related to successful school improvement practices. The presentation was developed by the United Federation of Teachers in cooperation with the Department.
STRATEGIES TO CLOSE THE GAPS IN STUDENT ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN URBAN AREAS OF NEW YORK STATE
I. THE ENVIRONMENT FOR URBAN EDUCATION IN NEW YORK STATE
Since the Regents called for higher educational standards for all students and focused efforts on closing the gaps in achievement over ten years ago, schools and communities have changed in relation to income, race and ethnicity, language and disability, especially in the large urban school districts of the State.
Changes that have occurred in the educational environment of the State’s Big Five city school districts can be best illustrated by comparing the experience of students entering kindergarten over a period of ten or more years:
· Black and Hispanic students. Students entering kindergarten in 2004 in the Big Five city school are more likely to be Black or Hispanic than their counterparts ten years ago. The majority of students in the Big Five city school districts are Black and Hispanic (72.2 percent as of fall 2002) and the large majority of the State’s Black and Hispanic public school students attend schools in the Big Five city school districts (76 percent as of fall 2002).
· Poverty. Students entering kindergarten in 2004 are more likely to be eligible for free or reduced price lunch (82 percent in the 2001-2002 school year vs. 62 percent in the1991-92 school year).
· Students with disabilities. Students entering kindergarten in 2004 are more likely at some point in their schooling to be identified as having a disability (9.2 percent of enrollment in New York City in 1991 compared to 11.1 percent of enrollment in 2001.)
· English language learners. Students entering kindergarten in the Big Five city school districts are far more likely to be English language learners than students attending other schools in the State (11.9 percent in New York City and 9 percent in large city districts in the 2001-02 school year as compared to less than 2 percent in average and low need districts). The parents of these students are also more likely to have very low levels of literacy or English language proficiency. Limited English language proficiency/literacy is closely connected to family poverty, unemployment, lack of health insurance, and ability of parents to support learning of their children.
· Health. Health problems that are unresolved and even undiagnosed can be learning barriers for students. Asthma is a chronic illness that has increased over the past two decades and is common among children and adults and studies suggest relatively higher concentrations in urban settings. Obesity among children is a pressing concern. Health insurance coverage is significantly lower for the Black and Hispanic populations than for the White population and Blacks and Hispanics are more likely to report poorer health status and higher rates of chronic disease in their families, trends that have been increasing during the past decade.
· Increasing proportion of new teachers. Once enrolled, students in the Big Five city school districts are more likely to be taught by new teachers. In the 2001-02 school year, 50 percent of teachers had permanent certification vs. 65 percent in the 1991-92 school year. The median number of teachers’ years of experience was 11 in the 2001-02 school year vs. 13 years in the 1991-92 school year. Teacher turnover also continues to be a challenge for school districts. One fifth of teachers in New York City, for example, leave each year.
· Administrative experience. School building leaders also have fewer years of experience than did their counterparts ten years ago.
· Older facilities. The main instructional facilities in the Big Five city school districts (not including leases, mini-schools, or temporary units) are also aging. The average age across the Big Four city school districts is 62 years. (In Buffalo, the average age of instructional facilities is 69.) In New York City, the average age was 60 years old in the 2003-2004 school year with trend data showing continued aging (e.g., an average age of 57 years in the 2001-02 school year).
· Changing structures. Each of the Big Five city school districts has just undergone, is undergoing, or will soon undergo significant changes in governance, administration and/or curriculum. While these changes may lead to long-term improvement, they often result in short-term dislocations.
· Fiscal pressure and other constraints. For the past several years, urban areas throughout the State have been under severe fiscal distress. (Of the Big Five city school districts, Buffalo, Syracuse and Rochester continue to experience a decline in population.) Despite the great needs of students in these districts, New York City, for example, will spend less per pupil unit than the statewide average ($11,627 vs. $12,265 in the 2001-02 school year and the large city districts will spend $12,759 -- far less than that of low need districts, $14,366.)
Today’s kindergarten students are likely to have opportunities and support not available to children entering school ten or more years ago. In addition, the school environment has evolved and teachers and school building leaders also have new strategies and opportunities available to them. For example:
· Early learning. Students today are far more likely to have attended pre-kindergarten prior to entering kindergarten (64 percent in 2001 vs. 31 percent in 1991). Over the past year and a half, family literacy funding has been expanded and targeted to families in the Big Five city school districts.
· Class size. The kindergarten class of 2004 will have a lower average class size (21 in 2001-02 school year in New York City as compared to 25 in the 1991-92 school year; and 18 in large city school districts in the 2002-03 school year as compared to 24 in the1991-92 school year).
· Professional development. While there are a greater proportion of new teachers entering the classroom, teachers today are also more likely to be involved in a coherent program of ongoing professional development. If the students’ schools are low-performing, it is likely that more resources are being directed to improve instruction, such as the Reading First program. The staff of these schools know that the expectations for these children are far higher than they were a decade ago.
· Coordinated technical assistance to schools. Schools in the Big Five city school districts now receive coordinated support from the Department through its regional network strategy, with the highest priority given to Tier One school districts (i.e., Big Five city school districts, Roosevelt UFSD and Wynandach UFSD). When fully implemented, a full range of technical assistance and staff development will be provided through funded technical assistance networks like the regional school support centers, bilingual education networks, regional adult education networks, the special education training and resource center network and a statewide career and technical education center. Partnership agreements with the Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse and Yonkers have also systematized the Department’s support and resources. However, the Department has fewer staff to provide direct support to these efforts than ten years ago.
· Academic Intervention Services. As they progress in their academic careers, kindergarten students must be prepared to demonstrate proficiency on State assessments, not just minimum competency, and must be able to pass Regents Examinations, not just competency tests in order to graduate from high school. Should the students not be able to demonstrate proficiency, they will receive academic intervention services, not mandated a decade ago, and other assistance.
· Higher expectations for children with disabilities. Students with disabilities are expected to have access to and achieve the same learning standards as their non-disabled peers and must fully participate in the State testing programs. Support and resources from the Department are focused on improving outcomes for students with disabilities the Big Five city school districts.
· The University of the State of New York. The Big Five city school districts are surrounded by rich resources from institutions under the Board of Regents through The University of the State of New York. For example, in New York City, the Queens Borough public library system helps close the digital divide for families in poverty, is one of the largest employers of youth in Queens, provides extensive English language literacy opportunities, and is actively expanding after-school services for youth and families. The City and State University systems have become active in the past decade in closing the student achievement gaps.
Results on State assessments suggest that:
· Kindergarten students will be far more successful as fourth graders than were their peers who were first to take the new assessments in 1999. (49.6 percent proficient or above in English language arts (ELA) in 2004 in New York City vs. 32.7 percent in 1999 and 43.5 percent vs. 28.6 percent in the large city school districts).
· Many of the students who took the 4th grade ELA test in 1999 took the 8th grade ELA test in 2003; and many of the students who took the 4th grade ELA test in 2000 took the 8th grade ELA test in 2004.
· In New York City, the percentage of students proficient and above on the eighth grade ELA test increased from 32.6 to 35.6 percent from 2003 to 2004; in the large cities the increase was from 22.5 percent to 23.3 percent.
· In New York City, 4th grade ELA results improved by 8.9 percent between 1999 and 2000 and in the large cities by 9.6 percent.
· If current trends continue, these students will eventually be more likely than their peers to earn a Regents diploma (31 percent of New York City students and 29 percent of large city district students earning Regents diplomas in 2002-03 vs. 21 percent in large city districts in 1991-92.
However, overall far too many of the students entering kindergarten today will be at risk of not completing high school within four years. (Only 57 percent of New York City students and 59 percent of students in large city school districts of the State who entered ninth grade in 1998 had graduated by August 2002.)
It should be noted that students in New York City and our large city school districts will often not have access to the rich pre-school opportunities and experiences that are usually available to students from more affluent homes and communities. Efforts to ensure that students in these urban districts get a good early start in education through such efforts as prekindergarten, early grade reduced class size, academic intervention services, and Reading First will be offset, in part, by the lower experience and qualification levels of staff and the fiscal, administrative and/or governance instability in these districts.
The Regents policy directions in furthering their school reform efforts have primarily focused on improving student achievement. These policies and their implementation span the adoption of learning standards, expanded graduation requirements, new assessments and policies that impact the quality of classroom teachers and administrators.
In 1995, the Board of Regents approved a statewide plan having a significant impact on public schools. This plan raised standards for all students by way of three strategies:
· Set high standards and revise the assessment system.
· Develop an instructional accountability system.
· Build the capacity of schools to support classroom instruction and student learning.
As a result, the State has established high learning standards with a new assessment system reflecting those standards and highly visible instructional accountability through a nationally-recognized system of school report cards.
Current standards-based reform, as embodied in federal and State policies, calls upon educators for the first time to provide a strong basic education system for all students. To meet this unprecedented challenge, public education will be increasingly dependent upon the large-scale improvement of instruction. The next step in this process is for the State to refocus its efforts on building the capacity of urban schools to improve classroom instruction and student learning.
Historically, individual teachers in American schools held responsibility for what was taught along with how instruction was delivered and learning assessed. Much of this work was performed in isolation from other instructors. Educational administrators were responsible for the management of school structures and processes but not for the technical core of instruction. Throughout the last century, this “loosely coupled” structure prevented the widespread dissemination of successful instructional practices across the educational system.
The establishment of statewide content and performance standards challenges this traditional pattern of school organization. Schools must now manage the conditions of learning in a systematic manner to meet identified levels of performance and to cultivate organizational cultures of continuous improvement.
To close the gaps, it is time for a new generation of strategies which will create a catalyst for change and improvement in high need schools in the large urban school districts of the State. These new strategies are not intended to short-circuit closing the gap approaches which are working, but rather will enhance and stimulate those strategies by focusing on standards, capacity and results. The strategies involve work at the state, regional and local levels. The next section of this paper focuses on State levers for changing classroom instruction.
III. STATE LEVERS FOR CHANGE
Responsibility for student learning is shared among those at the State, regional, district, building and classroom levels. Though each level is necessary for student success, each is dependent on the others. The State’s role in this process is to build potent “levers for change” that are comprehensive and continuous. Current educational research points toward a number of such interventions at the State level.
State level policymakers make a unique and critical contribution in developing, maintaining and continuously refining the design principles needed to guide large scale instructional improvement in urban school districts. Such State level activities include:
· explaining the purpose of educational reform efforts, including outreach to parents, students, business leaders, members of the State legislature and the community;
· enlisting new allies, especially from business and higher education, to advocate for a consistent message of higher standards for student success in postsecondary education and the workplace.
· setting district and school performance targets and monitoring results through the State assessment system;
· reporting performance publicly through school report cards and the Chapter 655 Report;
· advocating for the distribution of State resources fairly through the Regents State aid proposal and continuous legislative advocacy; and
Large-scale improvement of instruction is dependent upon the development and dissemination of ever-increasing amounts of instructional knowledge throughout the educational system. To complement the pedagogical knowledge that highly qualified teachers bring to the classroom, the complexity of teaching and learning problems argue for continuous creation and distribution of new instructional knowledge. Representative State level activities include:
· Identify effective instructional practices and tools consistent with scientifically-based research, e.g., reading and mathematics centers.
· Disseminate information and provide assistance on developing grade-by-grade curricula and link model aligned curricula, supported by sustained professional development, to the new assessments, based on the NCLB grade-by-grade requirements as well as those that will evolve at the high school level.
· Implement a student information/identification system and assist school administrators and teachers how to use the data to change classroom practice.
· Identify best and promising practices in district and school management of instruction and create electronic dissemination systems to share knowledge and to promote a statewide learning community, through the Department’s Virtual Leaning System, on-line data bases, public television and regional training and urban forums, particularly related to issues in urban education, (e.g., English language learners, student health issues and instructional strategies geared to the learning styles of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.)
· Strengthen connections between higher education and school practitioners to ensure consistency in classroom practice for teachers working in urban schools.
Creating Programs and Strategies Focused on the Needs of Students in the Gaps
To close the gaps in student academic performance in urban areas, programs and strategies must be customized to specifically address the needs of these students:
· Make universal pre-k universal. Many children in urban areas enter kindergarten not knowing letters and sounds resulting in delays in their learning to read or not reading at all. Resources need to be committed to ensure that all students in the State’s most disadvantaged communities are given opportunities for pre-kindergarten experiences.
· Expand the scientifically-based reading program to all level 1 and 2 students.
· Expand the access of students with disabilities to the general education curriculum and environment using intensive research-based instructional methodologies, especially in reading and mathematics.
· Improve the structure and content of bilingual and English as a second language programs and ensure students receive quality and intensive English instruction.
· Develop middle level models that give students time to catch up academically and still receive a strong academic program and positive youth development experiences.
· Create an instructional and student support program for 9th graders who are falling behind and cannot do 9th grade work.
· Create postsecondary options with community colleges for potential high school dropouts.
· Continued support of opportunity programs serving high-need minority high school students (e.g., Liberty Partnership program and Science and Technology Entry Program).
Enhancing School Improvement, Accountability and Fiscal Integrity of School Districts
A dedicated source of funding is needed to implement a strategy of “school-by-school reform” accountability. Approximately 70 percent of New York State schools are currently meeting performance standards. (Under the NCLB requirements, some of these schools would not meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in the future.) Conversely, approximately 30 percent of schools in the State need more intensive support and assistance to help them close the gaps in student achievement. These low-performing schools will be the focus of State efforts.
A dedicated source of funding is needed to implement a strategy of “school by school reform” in low-performing schools. The following strategy will ensure that student performance will meet high standards, practices proven to raise student achievement will be shared, and school finances will meet a high standard of accountability and integrity. The strategy requires:
· Additional Department staff in key shortage areas related to school improvement and accountability, fiscal oversight, auditing and technical assistance.
· Support and expansion of regional school support centers.
· Targeted technical assistance for at-risk schools, using academic intervention teams of administrators and content experts.
· Allowing boards of cooperative educational services (BOCES) to offer and pay for increased services to schools identified as schools in need of improvement through State aid for such services.
· Improved annual independent school audits.
· Data and information systems to monitor school financial condition, track student achievement, and manage the collection, processing and projection of State aid- related data.
In a results-oriented environment, effective educational leadership is characterized by the ability to guide and direct instructional improvement. To develop educational settings in which all students succeed, significant changes must occur in school organization, cultures, relationships and practice. This is particularly needed in urban schools where many instructional leaders have limited experience. Local leaders must combine State design principles with the best that is known about instruction to create knowledge-rich learning environments. They must also expand their conception of leadership beyond control mechanisms and widen their understanding of what constitutes instructional leadership. Though much of this work must take place in local classrooms, schools and districts, there is a critical role for State policymakers in promoting such change. Some State level activities would include:
· Articulate a consistent and strong focus on practices for improving student achievement.
· Continue to evaluate the effectiveness of state policies regulating teacher and administrative pre-service and in-service professional development, and, if necessary, refine policy to emphasize distributed leadership for instructional improvement.
· Recruit and prepare sufficient number of highly trained teachers in mathematics and science who understand how to gear content to urban students.
· Consider State policies regulating conditions necessary for effective learning (time, space, staffing, resources, etc.).
· Ensure that administrative certification requirements have an instructional component.
· Encourage system administrators to expand teacher leadership through programs of self-review, action research, collaboration and networking;
· Encourage school districts to establish mentoring opportunities for administrative staff to strengthen their role as instructional leaders.
· Provide leadership institutes, academies and forums to refine the knowledge and skills of urban administrators, share best instructional practices and train leaders to implement instructional strategies successfully, particularly related to the instruction of English language learners, student health issues and developing instructional strategies geared to the learning styles of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
· Organize statewide collaborations among urban educators to share common instructional challenges and solutions.
· Financial support to school districts for first-year teacher support (i.e., mentoring).
There are a number of policy issues for the Board of Regents to consider and discuss as the next generation of urban strategies emerge. Some of these issues are:
· Are the five areas identified for State activities (systems alignment and coherence; generation and dissemination of instructional knowledge; creating programs and strategies focused on the needs of students in the gaps; enhancing school improvement, accountability and fiscal integrity of schools; and development of instructional leadership and practice at all levels) the ones that will provide the best levers for change?
· What changes in Regents policies and regulations are needed to implement these strategies?
· What legislative advocacy is needed to acquire resources to implement State interventions?
KEY DEPARTMENT INITIATIVES
The Department’s offices of Elementary, Middle, Secondary and Continuing Education (EMSC) and Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID), operate with the understanding that there is no issue or program which affects only special education or only general education. Successful education reform initiatives must be implemented in partnership across offices, and all program offices must assume responsibility for all students. Many factors have influenced the development of this relationship, including federal legislation such as the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The NCLB sets high expectations with concomitant accountability provisions for the performance of all students, including specified sub-populations of students, including students with disabilities. The IDEA ensures the provision of appropriate special education services and accommodations in the least restrictive environment to provide students with disabilities an equitable opportunity to benefit from their education program and meet high State standards. In addition, practical experience in policy making and in field work by SED to improve schools dictates that EMSC and VESID work together consistently and effectively.
There are many examples, both from the recent past and from current practice, which highlight EMSC-VESID collaborative efforts. During this last year the efforts have increased and the quality of mutual work has benefited schools and classroom practitioners, as well as school districts. A number of these examples follow and provide a mosaic of success stories.
The Statewide School Improvement Strategy reflects how the Department uses an amalgamation of data-driven procedures to identify school districts and schools that are not meeting State accountability standards. EMSC uses the NCLB and System of Accountability for Student Success (SASS) procedures that are augmented by VESID’s analysis of school district performance in relation to special education key performance indicators. Based on the data, VESID and EMSC work together to prioritize school districts and schools to receive on-site support from SED personnel and Department-supported networks. Most low performing schools require coordinated interventions by regular and special education service providers.
Because of the performance of the Big Five city school districts and the current circumstances of urban education, they are high priority districts for EMSC-VESID collaboration. The following serve as examples of this collaboration:
· Convening regular meetings with superintendents of the Big Four city school districts to track progress in implementing school improvement initiatives.
· Conducting Title I Coordinated Monitoring Reviews.
· Focused Monitoring Reviews.
· Joint funding of Regional School Support Centers to provide services through “Reading First” and the mathematics initiatives.
· Development of Partnership Agreements in the Big Four city school districts and tactical plans to identify the support from EMSC and VESID program offices and funded field based networks.
· Instituting joint professional development for the Department’s Albany-based and New York City-based and network personnel to promote effective partnering in implementing school improvement strategies.
· Development of “Tools for Schools” technical assistance resources.
· Implementation of “Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports” programs to prevent and respond to classroom and discipline issues.
· Development, delivery and evaluation of “Urban Forums” to share best practices among large urban districts.
· Reporting school improvement interventions and services to the Department through mechanisms such as Status Reports from RSSCs and Targeted District Narrative Reports from SETRCs.
· Development of District Comprehensive Education Plans in New York City;
· Joint efforts in SURR and restructuring schools to support the most need schools.
· Consolidation of plans required of school districts by EMSC and VESID.
Future collaboration is in progress or under consideration in several areas. Some initiatives in contemplation of a joint approach include:
· Active involvement of VESID on SURR and Title I reviews which address gaps in instruction in low-performing schools and instructional needs, least restrictive environment and/or transition.
· Involvement of EMSC on Special Education Focused Reviews.
· Joint involvement in School Quality Reviews which cultivate an environment of continuous improvement and self-evaluation in schools.
· The development of the Department’s Virtual Learning Space as each office has standing members on the steering committee to direct this project.
The Board of Regents and State Education Department, as well as partners across The University of the State of New York (USNY), continue to be engaged in numerous strategies and initiatives to close the achievement gaps for students - students across the entire education spectrum. Not only do we want to ensure that all students in K-12 reach the learning standards, we also want to improve access to, and achievement in, higher education. Strong partnerships and linkages between K-12 education and college and university programs are critical to the continued success of students throughout their educational careers. Some good examples of strong K-16 linkages and partnerships can be found in the five Opportunity Programs administered by the Department’s Office of Higher Education (through its Office of K-16 Initiatives and Access Programs).
Opportunity Programs are often offered to students beginning in the fifth grade and can continue though graduate study. Together, the programs:
§ serve the learning needs of at-risk students and students who are educationally underprepared; and
§ help students to gain skills and consider career opportunities in traditionally underrepresented fields, including science, mathematics, technology and the licensed professions.
Through testimony at budget hearings, one-on-one meetings with legislators, and in other venues, the Regents and the Department continue to advocate for additional funding to expand opportunity programs statewide.
Students are eligible to participate in an LPP project if they have a history that includes one or more of the following characteristics:
§ Poor academic performance
§ Teenage pregnancy/parenting
§ Discipline problems
§ Substance abuse
§ Parental abuse/neglect
§ Homeless/live in shelter
§ Negative peer pressure
§ Change in family circumstance
The 57 LPP programs across the State are remarkably diverse although several common elements have been demonstrated to be effective in successful LPP projects:
§ Year-round programming and services
§ Academic support
§ Case management
§ Professional development opportunities
§ Collaborative community activities
§ Recreation and cultural enrichment
Collectively, the LPP programs have demonstrated a remarkable record of success:
§ The dropout rate among LPP students is under two percent compared to the statewide average of over five percent.
§ Since 1990, 17,992 students, considered at-risk, graduated from high school through the Liberty Partnerships Program, 13,281 entered postsecondary education and 2,536 entered the workforce immediately following high school graduation.
§ LPP sends an annual average of 1,500 students to college every year.
§ In 2002-2003, 83.5 percent of LPP students went on to college.
§ Roughly 86 percent of college-going LPP students attend higher education institutions located in New York State.
§ LPP alumni include students pursing undergraduate, graduate and doctoral study, lawyers, medical doctors, teachers, social workers, public administrators and other professional positions.
§ Most importantly, LPP alumni become contributing members of society and parents with a positive vision for their children’s future.
The purpose of the STEP program is to increase the number of historically underrepresented and disadvantaged students prepared to enter college, and improve their participation rate in mathematics, science, technology, health related fields and the licensed professions. Competitive grants are awarded to institutions of higher education (IHE). IHE's administer projects in schools/school districts with 20 percent or more enrollment of historically underrepresented students.
STEP serves secondary school students all over New York State. Students must be enrolled in Grades 7-12 and be economically disadvantaged, or Black, Latino, Alaskan Native, or Native American Indian. Participants are students with demonstrated potential to benefit from academic enrichment. STEP provides academic enrichment in science and mathematics content areas. Projects consist of summer and academic year components including:
§ Core subject instruction/Regents examination preparation
§ Supervised practical training
§ Supervised research training
§ College admissions counseling
§ Standardized tests preparation
§ Career awareness/development activities
§ 6% of STEP participants in Grade 12 graduated from high school
§ 96% of STEP graduates enrolled in college
§ 48% of college going graduates pursued opportunities in math, science and technology
programs served 5,675
in Grade 7-12 statewide
In May 2004, New York State’s Science and Technology Entry Programs (STEP) and Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Programs (CSTEP) were selected as institutional recipients of the prestigious 2003 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM). The national award is presented annually by The White House and the National Science Foundation.
Additional information on New York State’s opportunity programs is available on the Office of Higher Education’s website at: www.highered.nysed.gov.
INITIATIVES IN STREGTHENING INSTRUCTION AND IN IMPROVING STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT
The Regents have approved a number of initiatives that have affected the overall quality of education received by students, including:
· Science and Technology Entry Programs (1986)
· Schools Under Registration Review Process (1989)
· Liberty Partnership Programs (1989)
· Phase out Regents Competency Tests (RCT) and require Regents examinations (1996)
· Approval of the State Learning Standards (1996)
· Increase the number of units of credits and pass five Regents Examinations to earn a Regents Diploma (1997)
· Establish a safety net provision for students with disabilities (1997)
· Develop a panel to review alternate tests to the required Regents (1997)
· “Teaching to Higher Standards” – New York is committed to improving the quality of teaching and increase the supply of teachers to needy schools (1998)
· The Taskforce on Closing the Performance Gap and the Regents Taskforce on Leadership were formed to address poor performing schools (1998)
· Increase in English language established for English Language Learners (ELL) (1999)
· Academic Intervention Services mandated (1999)
· Revised School Accountability System, including report card (2000)
· Request that all teacher educational programs meet more rigorous standards (2000)
· New teacher certification system and annual staff development requirements (2000)
· Pupil attendance record keeping system (2001)
· CTE Technical endorsement on Regents Diploma (2001)
· Reading First (2003-04)
· Early Childhood and Statewide Prekindergarten Initiatives
· Urban forums (2002-03)
· Refinement of Regional Network Strategy and Regional School Support Centers (2003)
· Development and implementation of new regulations for school leaders (2004)
These coordinated initiatives have had an impact on all levels of the educational system. They have redefined and improved expectations, curricula, instruction, assessment and accountability. New York State’s efforts in these areas have been nationally recognized. Both Education Week and Princeton Review have judged New York’s standards and accountability system to be of the highest quality.