The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents



Diana M. Hinchcliff, Director, Office of Governmental Relations



Proposed Regents State and Federal Priority Legislation for 2007



July 20, 2006



Goals 1-6






Executive Summary


Issue for Discussion


          Regents state and federal priority legislative proposals for 2007.


Reason(s) for Consideration


          At the last Board of Regents meeting the Regents asked for additional information about proposed 2007 Regents priority legislation, including the legislative history and a justification for each item.


Proposed Handling


          The Regents will discuss the proposed items at the July meeting.


Procedural History


          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 SED’s budget proposal. The others are proposed for introduction during the legislative session.


Background Information


          As the Regents requested, a one-page justification for each proposed priority legislative item is attached, preceded by a list of priorities by program area broken out into state and federal.




          Discussion of the 2007 proposed Regents priority legislation.


Timetable for Implementation


          July meeting: Full board considers and discusses the proposed legislative priorities.


          September meeting: Final list of Regents priority legislation for 2007 is presented to the full board for approval along with SED’s 2007 budget proposal.










Cultural Education


New York Knowledge Initiative............................................................. Page 1

Museum Education.................................................................................... Page 2




Early Childhood Education (also Federal).................................................... Page 3

IDEA Reauthorization Conforming Legislation ............................................. Page 4

State Aid Proposal ............................................................................. Page 5

Streamline School Planning And Reporting Requirements............................. Page 6


Higher Education


Fee For Accrediting Institutions Of Higher Education..................................... Page 7..........................................................................................................................

Increased Access To College For Students With Disabilities......................... Page 8




Enforcing Prosecution Of Illegal Practice............................................ Page   9     

Update The Public Accountancy Statute.................................................... Page 10

Allow Retired Teachers To Teach In Shortage Subjects Without A Salary Cap . Page 11




Cultural Education


Funding For The Corporation For Public Broadcasting................................ Page 12

Funding For American History Grants....................................................... Page 13

Funding For The Library Services And Technology Act .............................. Page 14

Funding For The Public Telecommunications Facilities Program ................. Page 15

Funding For Ready To Learn and Ready To Teach ................................... Page 16

Funding For US Department Of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service ............... Page 17




Early Childhood Education (see State item)............................................... Page   3

E-rate (crossover with Cultural Education)................................................. Page 18

Reauthorization Of The Carl D. Perkins Vocational & Technical Education Act .. Page 19

Reauthorization Of The No Child Left Behind Act ...................................... Page 20

Reauthorization Of The Workforce Investment Act .................................... Page 21


Higher Education


Reauthorization Of The Higher Education Act ........................................... Page 22







Short Title:  New York Knowledge Initiative


Level: STATE


Program Office: Cultural Education


Brief Description:  The previous proposal was called New Century Libraries. It has been recast to feature libraries as knowledge centers and community spaces providing information. NOVEL (New York Online Virtual Electronic Library) provides library information resources for innovation, achievement, workforce development and economic growth, thus helping New York’s high school, college and university students graduate prepared to take their place in math, science, medicine and technology fields.   NOVEL is like the research and reference departments in a local library but online. Students, business people, faculty, researchers and the general public use NOVEL to get full-text books, journals, magazines, newspapers, encyclopedias and R&D information tools such as peer-reviewed research journals, web databases and math, science, medicine and technology reference materials.  SED gets a small amount of federal temporary funds for NOVEL but needs $10 million in the 2007-08 state budget. This money will buy quality R&D and K-16 knowledge databases and science, technology, engineering and medicine resources and provide grants to public and school library systems for the latest Internet connections and high-speed network access.


In addition, the $14 million the legislature appropriated for library capital construction projects and the $3 million for library system aid in the 2006-2007 budget should be made a permanent part of the state’s annual budget.


Legislative History:   2001-2002: First introduced in the legislature. Senate bill left in Education Committee. Assembly bill left in Ways & Means Committee. 2003-2004: Senate bill left in Education Committee. Assembly bill left in Ways & Means Committee. 2005-2006: Senate bill left in Education Committee. Assembly bill left in Library & Education Technology Committee. 2007-2008 budget includes funding for library construction and system aid.


Justification:   New York’s colleges and universities often are unable to provide state-of-the-art information resources to attract top faculty and students and support research, innovation and economic growth.  At the same time, the achievement gap continues to impact the ability of New York’s students to take their place in the global workforce and economy.  Both of these factors challenge New York at a time when states must compete more intensely than ever to retain jobs and attract business. 


Libraries deliver resources directly to universities, schools and communities and have skilled staff to guide students, faculty, researchers and the general public in their use.  Other states fund online library programs and have dramatically increased the purchasing power of their participating institutions. Examples: New Jersey, $6 million; Virginia, $13.4 million; Ohio, $6.3 million; Alabama, $3.5 million; and North Carolina, $4.6 million. 


A $1.7 billion statewide need for public library renovation and construction remains. New York is outranked in state support for public library construction by such states as Florida ($5.4 million), Georgia ($4.7 million), Illinois ($2.9 million), Massachusetts ($16.4 million) and Rhode Island ($2.1 million).







Short Title:  Museum Education Act


Level: STATE


Program Office: Cultural Education


Brief Description:  $30 million funding request for standards-based K-12 educational programs by museums, historical societies and performing arts institutions, either at the institutions or in the schools. $20 million would be used to fund these entities according to a formula based on contact hours and to add administrative staff. $5 million would be for competitive grants targeting initiatives that address areas of particular need, e.g. science, math and under-resourced schools. An additional $5 million would fund competitive grants to performing arts institutions for creative initiatives to expand access and raise the quality of their K-12 educational programs. The grant program would be administered by the New York State Council on the Arts. To be eligible for support, the applying institutions would have to have their curricula certified for quality and alignment with the learning standards by either the BOCES superintendent or the school district superintendent or their designated staff. Yearly reports would provide benchmark data to evaluate this initiative’s impact.


Legislative History: New in 2007.


Justification: Many museums already have aligned their offerings with the state learning standards and provide pre-visit material and training for teachers as well as followup lesson plans. The range of programs offered in various areas of science, history, and the arts is vast and adapted to all age groups. Museum education focuses on object-based learning, confronting the "real thing", the primary resource from which analysis of meaning, interpretation and comparisons can be made. The programs are usually active ones, with students examining and analyzing artifacts, specimens, works of art or documents. They contrast the characteristics of various species from skeletal characteristics, identify ancient fossils and create their own artifact or art in the mode or form of the culture and time they are studying. Performing arts institutions also promote learning from primary sources: live performances. They introduce students to the various disciplines through both analysis of form and substance and attendance at productions after studying the work. The major arts institutions' programs are already aligned with the standards. The purpose of this kind of learning is to bring knowledge to life and motivate students to want to know more. It also introduces them to rich resources and skills for independent learning that they can use throughout their lives.







Short Title:  Early Childhood Education




Program Office: EMSC & VESID


Brief Description:

·       Federal: Head Start increases the school readiness of young children in low-income families. Reading First helps states and school districts establish high quality, science based K-3 comprehensive reading programs, provides professional development for teachers and uses ongoing, valid and reliable screening, diagnostic and classroom-based assessments.


·       State: Proposal would provide funding for full-day kindergarten and lower the compulsory school age to 5.  This initiative is included in the state aid proposal for fiscal year 2007-2008.


Legislative History: Federal: Head Start is overdue for reauthorization. A bill has passed the House but not the Senate. Funding for Reading First is through the annual appropriations process in Congress.  State: First year for this proposal.


Justification: How a child reads at the end of first grade predicts with 88% reliability how the child will read at the end of third grade.  The knowledge and skills acquired by age 6 correlate positively with later academic success in school and in life.  The National Institute for Early Education Research found that high quality full-day kindergarten provides children with a greater degree of academic and social/emotional success.  A study by Denton, West and Watson found that students had higher reading skills when they participated in full-day kindergarten.  Lee and Burkum, from the University of Michigan, found that children who attended full-day kindergarten learned more literacy and math than children who attended half-day classes. Early education has strong economic benefits reflected in lower dropout rates and less need for special education or remedial programs.  



·       Reading First has made resources available to schools for improving young children’s literacy and provided high quality research to states.  Indicators from state programs show significant increases in students’ levels of literacy and learning.


·       Head Start’s funding should be made available for state pre-kindergarten initiatives rather than, as currently, a separate program.  While Head Start has provided needed services to children and families, the field of early education has changed drastically. Over 46 states now have pre-kindergarten programs.  The system for delivering early childhood education has changed and Head Start should be reconfigured accordingly.



·       The Board of Regents adopted an early education policy in January 2006 on the premise that providing children with early and high quality early education programs is essential to meet the needs of a global community.  







Short Title:  IDEA Reauthorization Conforming Legislation


Level: STATE


Program Office: VESID


Brief Description:  Would amend state law relating to special education services to conform to final federal regulations implementing the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as reauthorized in 2004.  Amendments needed regarding: Committee on Special Education and Committee on Preschool Special Education; discipline of students with disabilities; special education services for children placed in nonpublic schools by their parents; evaluations and eligibility determinations for special education; due process procedures, including resolution sessions, mediation, impartial hearings and appeals; Commissioner’s Advisory Panel for Special Education; interagency dispute mechanisms; and data collection and reporting. 


Legislative History: 2005 & 2006: Legislature passed a bill each year that extended a statutory sunset by one year and with some exceptions represented SED’s proposal.  The bills were passed as temporary legislation pending adoption of federal regulations implementing IDEA.  The 2006 bill will expire on June 30, 2007.  


Justification: Once the final federal IDEA implementing regulations are adopted and the federal government clarifies certain provisions of the amended IDEA, SED must have a permanent amendment to state law that conforms to the regulations. States’ statutes must be in compliance with IDEA by July 1, 2007.







Short Title:  State Aid Proposal


Level: STATE


Program Office: EMSC


Brief Description:  Creates foundation formula for equitable distribution of aid based on need.


Legislative History: First proposed in 2004. Not introduced in either house in 2004, 2005 or 2006.


Justification: The Regents State Aid Proposal replaces the current state aid system with an easily understood foundation formula based on what successful school districts spend to educate children. The foundation amount is adjusted to recognize regional cost differences and differences in pupil needs.


The formula has four working parts:


·      A foundation amount that represents the cost of meeting the standards in successful school districts.

·       A regional cost index that adjusts the foundation amount for regional variations in cost to provide the same purchasing power for each dollar of state aid.

·       A pupil need index that adjusts the foundation amount to provide more state aid to school districts with concentrations of student poverty.

·      An expected local share that recognizes a fair local share of the adjusted foundation amount for each district.


The formula provides an adequate amount of funding for students to meet state learning standards and requires uniform tax effort for districts of similar wealth. In addition, it includes a system of accountability measures to ensure school funds are spent efficiently and effectively.







Short Title:  Fee For Accrediting Institutions Of Higher Education


Level: STATE


Program Office: Higher Education


Brief Description:  Would authorize SED to charge fees to meet the costs of voluntary reviews of colleges and universities seeking institutional accreditation by the Board of Regents.


Legislative History: Submitted to the legislature for first time in 2006. Not introduced in either house.


Justification: The Board of Regents is the only state entity recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a national accreditation body for institutions of higher education.  Institutional accreditation is necessary so students can get federal financial aid (Pell grants and guaranteed student loans). Institutional accreditation focuses on institutional policies and on the qualitative effectiveness of an institution as a whole, particularly with respect to promoting student achievement and development.


The accreditation process requires that SED staff: conduct peer review visits to the institution and organize visits by outside experts; prepare reports and other materials; coordinate and attend meetings of the Regents Advisory Council on Institutional Accreditation; and work with the institution following the decision on whether to accredit.  SED currently absorbs the cost for this work. 


The Regents provide the state’s higher education institutions with a cost-effective alternative for demonstrating to the U.S. Department of Education that they meet the quality standards for participation in the federal student financial aid programs.  The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools annual fee can range from about $1,000 to $18,000 a year depending on the size of the institution.   Twenty-six of New York’s colleges and universities have elected to use the Board of Regents as their accrediting body instead of Middle States. In some cases, institutions of higher education will have a specialized mission (e.g. graduate education, theology or business) and feel the Middle States model may not be appropriate for them. Some institutions prefer the consistency of standards between New York’s program registration requirements and its accreditation standards. This is especially true for institutions newly chartered by the Board of Regents.  


SED would charge less than Middle States’ fees. The fees would correspond with the size of the institution.







Short Title:  Enforcing Prosecution Of Illegal Practice


Level: STATE


Program Office: Professions


Brief Description:  Would give SED authority to charge licensees a $10 fee every three years to fund the prosecution of illegal practice.


Legislative History:  2004: Asked legislature to include in 2004-2005 budget. Unsuccessful. 2005-2006: Assembly bill left in Higher Education Committee. Not introduced in the Senate.


Justification: Illegal practice hurts licensed professionals, jeopardizes SED’s ability to oversee and regulate the safe practice of the professions and puts the public at great risk. Chapter 615 of the Laws of 2003 gave the State Education Department the authority to prosecute illegal practice. For the first time, SED was authorized to issue cease and desist orders targeting unlicensed persons.  However, the law does not contain any provision for funding SED’s expense to prosecute. Prior to the law, the Office of Professional Discipline investigated allegations of illegal practice and if they were substantiated referred those cases to the attorney general’s office for further action. Because of the higher standard of proof required in criminal cases (beyond a reasonable doubt) and stronger resource demands, very few of those cases were criminally prosecuted successfully. SED has not been able to hire the staff and buy the equipment it needs to implement the law and so the Office of Professional Discipline can still only investigate allegations of illegal practice and refers the most egregious cases to the attorney general’s office for prosecution.

A $10 surcharge on each triennial registration and re-registration fee currently assessed on Title VIII professionals would give SED an adequate revenue stream to implement the law. The surcharge is supported by a coalition of associations representing 750,000 professionals.







Short Title:  Update The Public Accountancy Statute


Level: STATE


Program Office: Professions


Brief Description:  Would revise the public accountancy statute to: clarify professional services included in the scope of professional practice; oversee the practice of peripheral services by licensees within business corporations; require that all licensees and firms that provide professional services to the public be registered; provide the authority to conduct firm inspections; and create an enhanced mandatory quality review program. 


Legislative History: 1999-2000: First introduced. Assembly and Senate bills left in higher education committees. 2001-2002 & 2003-2004: Assembly and Senate bills left in higher education committees. 2005-2006: Not introduced in either house.


Justification: The practice of public accountancy has evolved over the past half century to include professional services and practices that were not offered when the current statute was enacted in 1947. Expanding the definition of practice 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, will strengthen public protection. The general public expects CPAs to be licensed and held accountable for these important financial services, but the Regents cannot take disciplinary action when licensees practice in an unethical or incompetent manner because their services do not fall within the current statutory scope of practice for accountants. This proposal would include these services within the scope of practice and licensees practicing in these areas would be subject to professional discipline by the Regents.


This proposal also includes a number of other provisions that would increase public protection and provide adequate oversight, including: removing the continuing education exemptions for CPAs; making it easier for CPAs in other jurisdictions to become licensed in New York; requiring that all firms providing public accountancy services in New York be registered; requiring that all firms that perform attest or compilation services participate in a mandatory quality review process; raising the maximum dollar amount of fines for misconduct; establishing profession-specific fines for professional misconduct; and establishing a public accountancy oversight unit  in SED to handle misconduct complaints.







Short Title:  Allow Retired Teachers To Teach In Shortage Subjects Without A Salary Cap


Level: STATE


Program Office: Professions


Brief Description:  Remove statutory pension salary cap to allow teachers certified in shortage subjects who have been retired for at least one year to return to teaching for up to two years (up to 5 years if approved by the state Commissioner of Education or Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education) while continuing to receive their retirement benefits.


Legislative History: 1999-2000: First submitted to legislature. Not introduced in either house. 2001-2002 & 2003-2004: Senate bill left in Civil Service and Pensions Committee. Not introduced in Assembly. 2005: Not introduced in either house. 2006: Modified proposal and resubmitted. Not introduced in either house.


Justification: There is a current and projected shortage of qualified, certified teachers in specific subject areas and specific urban and rural schools and districts throughout New York.  Schools under registration review and other low performing schools with challenging teaching environments have historically had difficulty attracting qualified teachers.   For both urban and rural hard-to-staff schools, the challenge is to find ways to attract candidates with teaching certificates to schools that cannot offer the salaries available in higher wealth school districts. The challenge is also to find enough individuals with the specialized skills needed in shortage subjects such as bilingual education, English to speakers of other languages, mathematics, the sciences, special education and technology education to meet the needs of school districts statewide. 


Other states facing similar teacher shortages draw on the pool of retired persons who hold teaching certificates.  As many baby boomers reach retirement age, the number of recently retired teachers will increase.  Many retired teachers return to work in the private sector or in other state or federal systems where there are no caps on the salaries they can earn while receiving their retirement benefits.  Many of them would return to teaching in New York if the salary cap were lifted. 


This proposal would apply only to teachers who are certified to teach in shortage subjects and would be available only to schools with shortages of certified teachers.  Retired teachers would be able to return to teaching without the salary cap for 2 years.  The state Commissioner of Education or the Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education could extend the teaching term to 5 years.  








Short Title:  Funding For The Corporation For Public Broadcasting


Program Office: Cultural Education


Brief Description: 

·       $430 million 2-year advance appropriation (for federal FY2009) for Community Service Grants to public broadcasting stations to pay Public Broadcasting System dues and program fees, CPB programming investments and other CPB grant programs.

·       $40 million for FY2007 for public TV stations to convert to digital broadcasting.

·       $36 million for FY2007 for the national interconnection satellite systems for public TV & radio & public broadcasting homeland security initiatives, which require interconnection.


Legislative History: Annual appropriation process in Congress. Congress has set appropriation amounts two years ahead since 1976 to allow for program production lead time, enable local stations to leverage federal funds and separate programming decisions from funding issues.


Justification: CPB’s annual appropriation is the “bread and butter” foundation of public broadcasting in the United States. As a funder, regulator and investor in programming, CPB ensures the quality of service citizens receive from their local stations, the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio. CPB’s programming investments help make possible such children’s programs as Arthur, Between the Lions and Dragon Tales; adult programs such as Africans in America, Auschwitz and the Nazi State, and Beyond Affliction: A Cultural History of Disability in America; and “signature” series like All Things Considered and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. These programs are unique to public broadcasting and would not find a time slot on commercial stations.


CPB funding makes it possible for public broadcasting stations to remain locally owned. In the vast majority of cases, these stations are the only locally owned media (broadcasting and print media included) in their communities, which means they share in and are responsive to their communities’ needs and interests. All New York stations, television and radio, benefit. CPB funding is an essential building block in station budgets, allowing stations to use federal dollars to leverage membership, underwriting and grant dollars. In federal FY2004 (the most recent data available), CPB provided these funds to New York:


FY2004 Total............................................................... $32,001,459

Television Programming.................................................. $6,557,174

Radio Programming........................................................ $2,197,195

Television Community Service Grants............................. $17,267,285

Radio Community Service Grants..................................... $3,767,419

Television and Radio Future

Funds and System Support................................................ $790,913

Digital............................................................................... $451,221

Other System Support....................................................... $970,252







Short Title:  Funding For American History Grants




Program Office: Cultural Education


Brief Description:  The US Department of Education funds the Teaching American History grant program, the US Department of the Interior administers a Save America's Treasures Program, the National Endowment for the Humanities hosts the We the People initiative and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission helps preserve historical records.  The Bush administration’s FY2007 budget proposes to: reduce funding for Teaching American History from $119.8 million in FY2006 to $50 million; eliminate funding for Save America's Treasures from $30 million in FY2006; fund We the People at $15 million, the same as FY2006; and eliminate funding for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission from $7.5 million last year.


Legislative History: Annual appropriation process in Congress.


Justification: Teaching American History supports programs that raise student achievement by improving teachers' knowledge, understanding and appreciation of American history.  It makes competitive grants to local educational agencies; they must partner with a content-rich institution, such as an archives, to design, implement and demonstrate effective, research-based professional development programs.   The State Archives has had three projects funded; in 2006, projects in seven school districts were funded.


Save America's Treasures preserves nationally significant intellectual and cultural artifacts and historic structures and sites. The New York State Archives has received three grants since 1998 for conservation of the Dutch Colonial manuscripts, the Native American treaties and land papers and papers related to the American Revolution and early espionage.


National Historical Publications and Records Commission grants have allowed the State Archives and over 50 partner institutions to make historical records accessible to teachers, students, academics, government officials, business people and legal researchers. In New York, the NHPRC has awarded $15,493,529 to institutions around the state for 170 projects, moving the State Archives toward its goal of comprehensive, equitable and accessible documentation of our history.  


Congress should fund We the People with an additional $15 million. This program: enhances teaching and understanding American history through grants to scholars, teachers, filmmakers, museums, libraries and other individuals and institutions; enables teachers to deepen their knowledge of American history through summer seminars and institutes; supports reading classic literature through the We the People Bookshelf, a collection of books recommended for young readers and made available to schools and libraries; preserves and expands access to our nation's historic documents, such as newspapers and presidential papers, and supports scholarly research; explores the lives and deeds of heroic men and women from America's past through the annual Heroes of History Lecture; disseminates knowledge of American history through exhibitions, public programs, and partnerships with the state humanities councils; and encourages students to reflect on important American principles and events through the annual “Idea of America" essay contest. 







Short Title:  Funding For The Library Services And Technology Act




Program Office: Cultural Education


Brief Description:  The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) provides grants to the states and competitive grants for technology and networking services, digitization and research and collaborative projects for libraries.


Legislative History:  Annual appropriation process in Congress.


Justification:  New York’s libraries depend on LSTA funds to sustain the services they provide. The Bush administration’s budget for fiscal year 2007 proposes $220,855,000 for LSTA.   While this is an overall increase, New York’s funds will be reduced for 2007 and in subsequent years because the federal grant formula is based on population and New York’s population is not increasing at the same rate as the population of other states.  New York faces a reduction of $500,000 as a result of the 5% cut in aid for libraries in the 2004-05 state budget.  The $9 million SED receives from LSTA supports all the salaries in the Office of Cultural Education’s Library Development, 50% of the salaries in the Research Library, all of NOVEL (New York Online Virtual Electronic Library), which is available in 5,000 libraries, and all of the Statewide Summer Reading Program, which has over one million children participating this year.


Without LSTA funding or if New York’s funding is reduced, SED services to the state’s 7,000 libraries, including the NOVEL program and the Statewide Summer Reading Program, would have to either shut down or be cut back.







Short Title:  Funding For The Public Telecommunications Facilities Program




Program Office: Cultural Education


Brief Description:  Need to continue funding the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program (PTFP), which makes grants to public broadcasting stations and other eligible entities to buy essential transmission and production equipment. The PTFP is under the auspices of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the US Department of Commerce. From 1967 to 2005 Congress appropriated $757 million to the PTFP. This has allowed public television to reach 99 percent of television households with a broadcast signal and public radio to reach an estimated 86 percent of the population.


Legislative History: Annual appropriation process in Congress.


Justification: The PTFP matches federal dollars with local support for the construction, repair and replacement of facilities and equipment (excluding land and buildings). This allows public television and radio services to reach unserved areas and helps upgrade and preserve services offered by existing stations. The PTFP also funds satellite networks and local television networks for distribution of instructional programming. Over the past 25 years the federal government has contributed approximately 25 percent of the cost of the public television industry's equipment. While individual PTFP grants may finance up to 75 percent of equipment costs, federal funds typically constitute 50 percent of the cost for eligible equipment items.


Without PTFP funds to buy cameras, control boards and editing facilities many stations would not be able to maintain adequate production or provide the programs their communities need and want. New York’s stations maintain busy production schedules, including local public affairs programs. For example, NY Week in Review, a weekly political news and views program, is produced by WMHT/Albany and broadcast statewide. WXXI/Rochester produces educational programs like Homework Hotline and Assignment the World.  Double Down, an academic competition for high schools in the Syracuse region, is the product of WCNY. Other stations create and broadcast programs on health and fitness and how-to, and documentaries on historic places, people and events.


There is another great benefit to PTFP funding. By requiring a local match for any PTFP dollar that a station receives, the PTFP has provided an incentive for stations to diversify their fundraising practices, resulting in a broader donor base and greater overall financial stability.







Short Title:  Funding for Ready To Learn and Ready To Teach




Program Office: Cultural Education


Brief Description:  Requesting $32 million for Ready To Learn, which provides programming and outreach to support early literacy and school readiness and $15 million for Ready To Teach, which funds the development of digital educational services to improve teacher performance. They use public television to prepare early learners and teachers for educational success. The US Department of Education oversees both programs.


Legislative History: Annual appropriation process in Congress.


Justification: Ready To Learn and Ready To Teach were authorized as part of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and support its goals by relying on scientifically-based methodology and coordination with state and local education authorities.


Ready To Learn’s central mission is to equip young children to enter school prepared to become successful learners and achievers, encompassing all aspects of their cognitive development. The next generation of services will focus exclusively on building reading achievement for children aged 2-8 from low-income families. All New York public TV stations broadcast the programming and provide outreach to teach parents, daycare providers and early childhood teachers how to use the programs.


Ready to Teach will develop innovative digital curricula and continue to fund PBS’ TeacherLine, an online professional development program that improves teacher quality, particularly in the core areas of reading and math.


TeacherLine, administered in New York by WNED/Buffalo, creates and delivers curricula that help educators improve student outcomes. PBS and more than 80 local stations have: created over 90 online research-based and standards-aligned courses in mathematics, reading/language arts and technology integration; trained tens of thousands of educators for recertification or graduate credit; partnered with local and state educational agencies to help teachers meet NCLB’s Highly Qualified Teacher requirements; and certified more than 700 facilitators for virtual learning instruction.


Ready To Teach also funds grants to local public television stations to develop innovative digital content for the classroom and beyond. Public TV will help raise student achievement by providing interactive resources and training to teachers. The US Department of Education recently gave a multi-year grant to Thirteen/WNET (New York City) for its VITAL project that provides educators with digital video to teach math and English language arts to help students in grades 3 through 8 succeed in mandated testing.







Short Title:  Funding For US Department Of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service




Program Office: Cultural Education


Brief Description:  Requesting $10 million for grants to stations in rural areas to support their conversion to digital broadcasting.


Legislative History: Annual appropriation process in Congress.


Justification: Rural communities depend on their local public television stations for services ranging from educational course content in their local schools to local news, weather and agricultural reports. As stations make the conversion to digital television (DTV), a wide array of new services will be available through this new broadcast platform. However, a vast majority of DTV stations serving rural communities have not been able to build out their full digital facilities, preventing these new services from reaching their rural constituents.


With the deadline of February 17, 2009 to shut off analog television, public television stations serving rural communities are in greatest need of funding to ensure continued service to their full coverage area. The Rural Digital Program is one of the few sources of funding for converting digital translators and repeaters: the very equipment needed to extend a signal to remote areas. Additionally, the USDA has drafted new rules that could expand the eligible uses of funds to include equipment for local production and “datacasting” high-end content to PCs and school servers. The result will be more local content and services to the communities that rely on it most.


The array of services that digital public television stations will be able to deliver to their rural communities is truly exciting. Each station will be able to tailor its offerings to meet the needs of its local community. Here are some examples of what is possible:

·       A partnership with the local school district to datacast advanced placement science, math or foreign language courses to schools that otherwise do without them

·       Weather and other emergency alerts delivered wirelessly to PC or laptops at home, the farm or the place of business, accompanied by other data such as satellite imaging

·       Telemedicine services linking a local clinic to a university hospital hundreds of miles away.








Short Title:  E-rate Program




Program Office: EMSC & Cultural Education


Brief Description:  The Telecommunications Act of 1996 provided that elementary and secondary schools and libraries receive discounts on telecommunications services, including computer hardware, for educational purposes. Consequently, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established the Schools and Libraries Universal Support Mechanism, known as the E-rate program. E-rate is funded through the Universal Service Fund, which charges telecommunications providers a fee that they in turn pass along to consumers.


Legislative History:  The E-rate program was permanently authorized in the 1996 Telecommunications Act, but in 2004 the FCC determined that the E-rate program should be subject to the Antideficiency Act. The Antideficiency Act prohibits committing funds not actually accrued, which would prevent the E-rate program from making commitments to school districts and libraries for an upcoming fiscal year. Congress has temporarily exempted the E-rate program from the Antideficiency Act until December 31, 2006.


Justification:  E-rate funding is critical for schools and libraries, especially in rural and low-income areas, to be able to install the technology that students, educators and library users need to access needed information. The program provides funding to telecommunications vendors for discounts of between 20 percent and 90 percent to schools and libraries for telecommunications, Internet access and internal connections (cabling and network infrastructure needed for multiple user access). The discount rate for each school and library depends on its rate of participation in the National School Lunch Program and its urban/rural status. Each year’s funding is capped at $2.25 billion but annual requests far exceed the monies available.


Over the program’s nine years, New York’s schools and libraries have received from 9.9 percent to 17.7 percent of the total funds available. New York’s schools and libraries got $384.9 million in 2002, $436.4 million in 2003 and $339.9 million in 2004. Funds are still being allocated for 2005 and 2006.   







Short Title:  Reauthorization Of Carl D. Perkins Vocational & Technical Education Act




Program Office: EMSC & VESID


Brief Description:  Perkins provides secondary and postsecondary career and technical occupational education (CTE) programs for students who might otherwise not be successful in high school, college or employment.


Legislative History: Overdue for reauthorization. Congress is considering reauthorization this year but no guarantee it will be done.


Justification: In New York, CTE students perform as well as or better than their peers in general education programs.  Thirty-two percent of all secondary diplomas and 30 percent of all postsecondary degrees and certificates earned at less than the baccalaureate level are CTE credentials. In the 2005-2006 academic year, SED awarded $36.2 million to 79 education programs to support approximately 325,000 students, including the seven special population categories: disabled; economically disadvantaged; individuals preparing for non-traditional careers; single parents; displaced homemakers; educationally disadvantaged; and individuals with limited English proficiency. Recent data shows that 70 percent of students served by Perkins funds were members of one or more of these special populations. At the postsecondary level, 80 percent of students served by Perkins funds were members of one or more special populations.


Reauthorization issues include:


·       Flexible maintenance of effort requirements.

·       Separate funding for secondary and postsecondary programs to ensure enough for both and separate performance indicators.

·       Eliminate fiscal sanctions on states for failure to meet performance standards; they are counterproductive.

·       Performance indicators should be based on educational skill attainment, not wage increases and keeping a job. Allow performance results to be measured across all indicators.

·       Redefine Tech Prep as a service delivery model, not a program, focus it on developing math and science skills, create seamless transitions to postsecondary training, facilitate links between educational agencies and industry and provide flexibility for use of funds.

·       Perkins should not be linked with special education, NCLB or the Workforce Investment Act. These need separate resources and accountability.

·       Provide flexibility to adopt career clusters, rather than prescribed templates.

·       No mandated use of a unit record system for student followup unless funding is provided for development.

·       Allow states to determine how to serve special populations or implement special initiatives. Expenditures for these should be optional, not required.







Short Title:  Reauthorization Of The No Child Left Behind Act




Program Office: EMSC & VESID


Brief Description:  NCLB governs elementary and secondary education, mandates educational standards and holds states, school districts and schools accountable for the performance of all students. New York receives over $2 billion from the federal government for NCLB. Concerns with the current law are: funding is inadequate even as more testing is required; the requirements for measuring Adequate Yearly Progress has caused some schools to be considered failing because of poor performance by one or a couple subcategories of students; there are different opinions about how special education students should be assessed; the definition of "highly qualified" for special education teachers is not realistic; and provisions for Adequate Yearly Progress that do not allow enough time for students with disabilities to graduate are negatively affecting school districts’ graduation rates.  Development of SED’s list of reauthorization issues will be an ongoing process involving stakeholders, advisory groups and other sources of input. 


Legislative History: NCLB expires in 2007 and must be reauthorized. Congress intends to hold hearings and gather information in 2007 but it is not certain that the actual process of reauthorization will begin.


Justification: There are a number of issues that must be addressed. For example:


·       Congress has never funded NCLB at the level authorized in law. Yet, states were required to implement another mandate in the 2005-2006 school year: grades 3-8 testing.


·       Some states, including New York, are using longitudinal data systems linked to testing to measure the progress of individual students over the years. However, NCLB does not permit states to use longitudinal data from the annual grades 3-8 tests to demonstrate Adequate Yearly Progress.


·       States should have the discretion to allow special education teachers and rural teachers who are highly qualified in one subject to teach other subjects when working in consultation with another teacher who is highly qualified in that subject.  This would permit increased flexibility in staffing special education classes and maintain the consultation teacher model.


·       Accountability measures should truly assess the achievement of students with disabilities. For example, those with significant cognitive disabilities should be able to use an alternate assessment based on alternate learning standards geared to their individual level of achievement, not to the grade level for their age, and schools should not be penalized for not meeting Adequate Yearly Progress goals due to the disparity in special education students’ learning abilities.


·       Students with disabilities who need more than five years to graduate should be allowed to be counted as graduates under states’ Adequate Yearly Progress requirements. This is currently not permitted, which negatively affects school districts’ graduation rates for reporting purposes. The performance measure should be the number of years needed to graduate specified in a student’s individualized education program.







Short Title:  Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act




Program Office: Higher Education


Brief Description: The Higher Education Act funds student financial assistance, teacher quality development, and early outreach and student services and strengthens postsecondary institutions and the workforce. Issues for reauthorization: increasing the maximum amount of Pell grants; increasing funding for LEAP, GEAR UP and TRIO; addressing shortages of qualified teachers; expanding higher education opportunities for students with disabilities; and expanding Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Perkins loans and College Work Study.


Legislative History: Congress reauthorized the majority of the student loan provisions in HEA this year as part of the Deficit Reduction Act but action on the remaining provisions is stalled.


Justification: Each year, New York’s 271 degree-granting public, independent and proprietary institutions and 356 non-degree postsecondary vocational schools serve over a million undergraduate and graduate students and students in their first professional jobs. In 2003-2004, these students borrowed over $3.6 billion from HEA loan programs and received over $1.1 billion in HEA grants and work-study wages. Pell grants went to over 385,000 undergraduates—approximately one of every three at four-year colleges and universities and one of every two at two-year colleges. New York has higher rates of college participation and completion than most other states. However, family income is not keeping pace with rising tuition prices, so Pell grants and federal loans cover a shrinking share of college costs and students increasingly rely on high cost private loans.


Many of the HEA programs should be strengthened.  For example:


ü     Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Program (GEAR UP) serves youth who would not otherwise prepare for high school graduation and college study. In federal fiscal year 2005, New York received $7.6 million from GEAR UP for statewide and partnership projects.


ü     The TRIO programs in New York help low-income and at-risk youth prepare for and succeed in undergraduate and graduate study. But like GEAR UP, TRIO does not reach all eligible students.


ü     The Title II teacher quality programs help teachers meet state and federal standards for preparation, certification, induction and professional development and help schools recruit highly qualified teachers. Teachers in high poverty schools and teachers of shortage subjects such as math and science rely on Title IV loan forgiveness.








Short Title:  Increased Access To College For Students With Disabilities


Level: STATE


Program Office: Higher Education & VESID


Brief Description:  Would establish a $15 million funding program in the first year and up to $30 million for the next four years to help colleges serve students with disabilities. The funds could be used to provide assistive technology for disabled students, professional development so faculty could better meet the students’ learning needs, and ensure that appropriate academic and counseling support services are available to help improve disabled students’ success in their academic programs.


Legislative History: 2001: Submitted to legislature; not introduced. 2002: Left in Assembly Higher Education Committee. Not introduced in Senate. 2003-2004: Senate bill left in Finance Committee. Assembly bill left in Ways & Means Committee. 2005-2006: Senate bill left in Finance Committee. Assembly bill left in Higher Education Committee.


Justification:  In 2004 over 40,000 students with disabilities in New York state colleges and universities identified their disability to their colleges. There are limited dedicated funds to enable students with disabilities to pursue higher education. Most disabled students have only the same funding sources available as students without disabilities.  Yet, the cost of accommodations to level the playing field make it cost prohibitive for some colleges and universities to actively recruit students with disabilities.  Students are often forced to choose a college based on the support services it can provide instead of on academic programs.  The result is that students with disabilities have more limited options than their non-disabled peers.


The cost for accommodations and services is not covered by tuition and other student fees.   For example, an adaptive computer system can cost $3,000. Other accommodations such as interpreter services for a deaf student can be about $40,000 per academic year. One campus reports that the cost of captioning services for a deaf student could be as high as $1,000 per week.  An entire college campus’ disability support budget for the year can be spent on just a few students.  Finally, there is no funding for professional development to help college faculty meet the learning needs of students with disabilities on their campuses.


Representatives from SUNY, CUNY, the independent colleges and universities and the degree-granting proprietary colleges in conjunction with the Board of Regents have made a commitment to remedy this inequity. This proposal would help colleges improve their ability to serve these students. The funds would be used to implement the recommendations of the Task Force on Postsecondary Education and Disabilities ( with an emphasis on helping colleges increase enrollment and academic success of students with disabilities.







Short Title:  Reauthorization Of The Workforce Investment Act




Program Office: EMSC & VESID


Brief Description:  The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) includes the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act and the Vocational Rehabilitation Act. WIA connects programs for out-of-school youth and adults (vocational rehabilitation, adult education and family literacy, Perkins postsecondary vocational and technical education) with workforce development. 


Legislative History: Overdue for reauthorization. Congress is considering reauthorization this year but no guarantee it will be done. The House and Senate have passed bills and a conference committee must be formed.


Justification: WIA is needed to help build a New York workforce with the skills required in the global marketplace. As globalization accelerates, the unskilled American worker is at a distinct disadvantage and more likely to be trapped in poverty. New York has seen a sizeable increase in immigrants without English language and communication skills and recent data shows more minorities do not have a complete education and are living in poverty. Globalization has already left them behind. WIA provides education opportunities for unskilled workers, adults without a high school or postsecondary education and students and adults with disabilities.


Reauthorization issues include:


·       Support local youth councils, maintain balance between in-school and out-of-school youth programs and simplify eligibility determination.

·       More funding for states to support comprehensive accountability, staff development, coordination with other agencies, expanded use of distance learning technology and assessment of research-based instruction.

·       Separate funding for one-stop delivery centers

·       Maintain representation by key education and vocational rehabilitation partners on local workforce investment boards

·       Keep the current maintenance of effort requirements, which make it easier for states to comply.

·       More transition services for youth and more support for independent living

·       Fix the funding formula so states like New York get the full Consumer Price Index cost of living adjustment; provide an annual Consumer Price Index cost of living adjustment for independent living services, similar to what is available for vocational rehabilitation.

·       Broader membership on the State Workforce Investment Board to include agencies and organizations overseeing programs for persons with disabilities.

·       Separate grant funding for states with high performing adult education programs that meet or exceed core performance indicators in the National Reporting System.