Commissioner Mills reflects on where we are and where we must go in education

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009 at 11:39 am by

Yesterday, outgoing State Education Commissioner Richard Mills gave a sort of valedictory address describing accomplishments of the education system under his tenure and sharing reflections on its future challenges and opportunities.

The Commissioner delivered his remarks at an event convened by the State University’s Rockefeller Institute of Government.  You can watch the hour-long speech and Q&A session here.

He highlighted the Foundation Aid formula enacted two years ago as “probably the most powerful policy decision that was made in the last decade” but warned that the achievement is in jeopardy of being lost due to the planned two-year freeze on the formula.

The Commissioner also discussed New York’s plans and prospects for gaining a share of the the new $5 billion federal “race to the Top” fund.  Gannett’s Albany blog reported

Getting in the program will require a commitment to state-led national standards in English and math, the commissioner said. New York led the nation in creating high academic standards, which are now a requirement of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. New York is interested in partnering with other high-performing states that have had similar success in closing achievement gaps between wealthy and poor districts. Mills said he and Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch have been talking with a few of the strongest states.

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