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Meeting of the Board of Regents | January 2008

Tuesday, January 1, 2008 - 9:55am

sed seal                                                                                                 







Jeffrey W. Cannell, Deputy Commissioner for Cultural Education



Public Library and Public Television Early Literacy Partnerships – “Bridging the Achievement Gap” Proposal


January 2, 2008









Issue for Discussion


The Regents 2008-2009 Budget Proposal includes a $5 million request for new ongoing, annual State funds to establish collaborative early literacy programs in cultural institutions. Bridging the Achievement Gap (attached) is a proposal to use the $5 million to establish partnerships in each of the nine regions of New York State served by a public television station.


Each Bridging the Achievement Gap partnership would identify resources from public libraries and public television; connect them with community agencies and organizations who already work with young children at risk of failing to complete their education; and deliver to these children, their parents and caregivers a coordinated and cost effective system of resources, services and support focused on a single goal: every child is ready to enter school.


Despite decades of effort and investment, our schools still enroll too many children who arrive behind their peers and will likely stay behind throughout their education. The overriding goal of Bridging the Achievement Gap is to transform the early childhood experience and break the generational cycle of low literacy and school failure in high risk families and communities.


Reason(s) for Consideration



Proposed Handling


The Committee is asked for feedback on the document “Bridging the Achievement Gap: A Call to Communities,” endorsement of the concept of the initiative, and approval to send the paper out to library systems, libraries, public television stations, BOCES, school districts and potential statewide partners for their information and support.


Procedural History


The Regents P-16 Initiative states as the first aim of USNY, “Give every child a good start.” Included in the Action Steps of the P-16 strategy are these:

Through the USNY Cabinet on Early Education, collaborate with other children and family-oriented State agencies and community organizations to identify and help families through large-scale parent training and related services. Set targets for results.


By September 2007

Staff Lead:

Cindy Gallagher — Team Leader, Early Childhood and Reading Initiatives

Liz Hood — Director, Educational Television/Public Broadcasting


To be determined based on discussions with lead agencies.


Increase literacy of children and parents by expanding proven programs in libraries, museums, public broadcasting. Set targets and advocate for resources.

Increase proven training programs for librarians and parents on how to teach reading. Use the resources of public television to help families develop literacy skills in their children, beginning at birth. All public libraries and PBS stations will offer robust programs of early literacy services.


By September 2009

Staff Lead:

Carol Desch — Director, Library Development

Liz Hood — Director, Educational Television/Public Broadcasting


Total of $10 million annually: $7.5 million for libraries; $2.5 million for public broadcasting and two FTEs for the 2008-09 budget request.


Background Information


In the months since the USNY Summit, the Office of Educational Television & Public Broadcasting, the Division of Library Development, and the USNY Cabinet on Early Education have worked to move these action steps forward. “Bridging the Achievement Gap: A Call to Communities” is the result of this work.


The $5 million for early literacy programs in cultural institutions that is included in the Regents 2008-09 Budget Proposal, if realized in the State Budget, will provide the funding to establish pilot programs to demonstrate that the skill and resources of public libraries and public television, combined with collaborative work with schools and community agencies, can be an effective means to give New York’s children the good start promised in the aims of USNY.




Staff recommends that the Cultural Education Committee review the information and provide direction to staff.



Timetable for Implementation


With the Committee’s approval, the “Bridging the Achievement Gap” document will be distributed to the field in January 2008.