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Meeting of the Board of Regents | September 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009 - 9:20am

sed seal                                                                                                             






The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents


Lester W. Young, Jr.


Development of New York’s Race to the Top Application



September 10, 2009



1, 2, 3 and 5






Issue for Discussion


              To review the process that is being used to develop New York’s Race to the Top (RTTT) Application.


Reason(s) for Consideration


                For information.


Proposed Handling


This item will be discussed at the Full Board meeting in September 2009.


Procedural History


              At the Regents meetings in June and July, Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch and Regent Lester W. Young provided updates on activities related to New York State’s Race to the Top application planning and strategy. In September, Chancellor Tisch and Regent Young will review the actions taken to date and the process by which the Regents and the Department will work to prepare an application that can be submitted by the Governor in December 2009.





Background Information


On February 17, 2009 President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, which is intended to stimulate the economy, support job creation, and invest in critical sectors, including education.  The ARRA provides $4.35 billion for the Race to the Top Fund, a competitive grant program designed to encourage and reward states that are creating the conditions for education innovation, achieving significant improvement in student outcomes and implementing ambitious plans in four core education reform areas:


  • Adopting internationally benchmarked standards and assessments that prepare students for success in college and the workplace;
  • Recruiting, developing, training, and rewarding effective teachers and principals;
  • Building data systems that measure student success and inform teachers and principals how they can improve their practices; and
  • Turning around the state’s lowest performing schools.



On July 29, 2009 the United States Department of Education (USED) issued a notice of proposed priorities for the Race to the Top application and invited public comments on the draft.  The USED received more than 1,500 responses before the comment period closed on August 28, 2009.  Comments were submitted by Commissioner Huxley on behalf of the Board of Regents and State Education Department and from Deputy Secretary of Education Duffy Palmer on behalf of Governor Paterson.  In the draft application, USED indicated that it plans to make RTTT grants in two phases. Phase 1 applications will be due in the late fall 2009 and Phase 2 applications will be due in spring 2010.


In spring 2009, the Board of Regents and State Education Department began to organize for the preparation of a successful Phase I Race to the Top application to be submitted by Governor Paterson on behalf of New York State. The development of New York’s application is envisioned to occur in six sometimes overlapping stages, as described in the attachment document.




Not applicable.


Timetable for Implementation


The Regents will discuss the application in Executive Session in September and will be asked to take action upon the application in November.  Following approval of the application, it will be signed by the Chancellor and the Commissioner and submitted to the Governor for signature and transmittal to the United States Department of Education.



Race to the Top Application (RTTT) Development Plan



Phase 1: Preplanning (Spring 2009):  During this phase, which began in Spring 2009, Chancellor Tisch and Commissioner Mills identified members of the Board of Regents and Department staff who would form a Race to the Top workgroup.  Chancellor Tisch appointed Regent Lester W. Young, Jr. to co-chair this workgroup. In addition, the Regents secured private funding to engage consultants to assist the workgroup in its efforts.  Preliminary meetings were held to familiarize workgroup members with RTTT and Regents priorities and to assign roles and responsibilities.


Phase 2: Initial Stakeholder Engagement (Summer 2009):  


Throughout the summer 2009, under the leadership of Chancellor Tisch and Regent Young, a series of invitational meetings have been held with stakeholder groups to solicit their recommendations regarding the key strategies that should be included in New York’s Race to the Top application.  While most of the stakeholder meetings have been focused on addressing particular elements of New York’s Race to the Top application, such as developing strategies to support children ages zero to age five or replicating successful comprehensive service models, participants were encouraged to provide recommendations regarding all elements of the RTTT application.  In addition to Chancellor Tisch and Regent Young, stakeholder meetings have been attended by  other Regents; Duffy Palmer, the Governor’s Deputy Secretary of Education; Commissioner Huxley and Commissioner-elect Steiner; and other Department staff.  Phase 2 is expected to be completed by the end of September.


Phase 3: Development of Conceptual Framework (Summer – Fall 2009): 


Beginning in July, Chancellor Tisch, Regent Young and members of the Regents Executive Committee, the consultants engaged by the Department, Commissioner Huxley and Commissioner-elect Steiner and other SED staff members have been meeting regularly to develop and refine a set of recommendations to guide the development of New York’s RTTT application. Using the Regents P-16 Plan of Action and the recommendations of the Project Management Office as a point of departure, the workgroup has focused on the four reform areas and has identified strategies that can be implemented under existing statutes and Commissioner’s Regulations as well as those that will require the Regents to amend Commissioner’s Regulations or seek statutory change.  The development of the conceptual framework has been informed by research on, and conversations with, a variety of organizations within New York and throughout the United States that have been identified as models of best practice in their respective fields of expertise.  The development of the conceptual framework has been an iterative process and will continue, to some degree, until the final application is approved by the Regents in November and submitted by the Governor in December.




Phase 4: Stakeholder Feedback and Refinement of Conceptual Framework (Fall 2009):


With the approval of the Regents at their meeting in September, members of the Board of Regents will share the conceptual framework with key constituency groups and solicit their feedback and recommendations on the framework.  It is anticipated that these meetings will occur during the months of September and October and will include discussions with the Governor and the Legislature regarding legislative changes to support the Regents reform agenda.


Phase 5: Development of Application and Solicitation of Commitments of Support (Summer – Fall 2009):


Although the final application guidance is not expected to be issued by USED until sometime in October or November, SED staff has already begun to develop drafts of certain portions of the application, particularly those in which the state must document its prior efforts in the four key reform areas. Just as the conceptual framework has been subject to numerous iterations, the RTTT workgroup anticipates that the application will also evolve over multiple versions as the workgroup is informed by the release of the final application guidance and the feedback of stakeholders.  As the application moves towards its final version, the Regents will seek letters from key stakeholders indicating their support for the application.  During this time, participating local educational agencies will be selected and asked to make explicit the commitments they will undertake under RTTT.


Phase 6: Submission of Application (Fall 2009): 


The Regents will be asked to take action on New York’s application at their November meeting. Following Regents action, the application will be signed by the Commissioner and the Chancellor and then submitted to the Governor for his approval and transmittal to the USED.  Prior to the Regents action and as required by RTTT, the State Attorney General will be asked to certify that the application’s description of, and statements and conclusions concerning State law are complete, accurate and a reasonable interpretation of State law.