Home Room, January 22, 2013

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 at 10:48 am by

At 2 pm today, Governor Cuomo will present his 2013-14 proposed state budget.

We will send out whatever information we get as soon as it becomes public, including School Aid runs.

Several media sources have noted that leaks and previews have been much scarcer than in prior years.

The big questions in education are:

(1) How much of an overall aid increase will the Governor propose?;

(2) How much of the increase might be directed to expanding prekindergarten, extending the school day or year, and the other new initiatives the Governor described in his State of the State address two weeks ago?; and

(3) Will he propose any significant mandate relief?

In the meantime, below is some of the news we have highlighted in our blog and on Twitter over the past week.


Graduation rates
A new report today from the National Center on Education Statistics finds that on-time high school completion rates nationwide have reached their highest level in four decades and that New York continues to make gains in raising its graduation rate.  The complete report is available here.

My quick review shows we continue to have wide gaps in outcomes:  New York ranks 12th in “Average Freshman Graduation rate for white students, 39th for black students, and 47th for Hispanic students.  Of course, states have different expectations of students, and New York typically ranks high in comparisons of academic standards and requirements.

The NCES report also shows New York making the second greatest gain in graduation rate since 200-03,trailing only Tennessee.


Teacher and Principal Evaluations
A postmortem on the evaluation deadline on our blog does a comprehensive run-down on what happened at the state’s deadline for districts to have approved teacher and principal evaluation plans – and the aftermath – January 21, 2013.

Gannett papers today report on the fact that 90 percent of district evaluation plans cover only one year.  I’m quoted, along with superintendents Jere Hochman of Bedford (Westchester County) and Randy Squier of Coxsackie-Athens (Greene County).


Michael Rebell: Better learning costs money – Albany Times Union, January 21, 2013.  A column by the former lead attorney in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity’s successful challenge to the constitutionality of the state’s school finance system.  Mr. Rebell is also a member of the Governor’s Education Reform Commission.

Cuomo to curb mandates – Albany Times Union, January 21, 2013.  Though Governor Cuomo was silent on mandate relief in his State of the State address two weeks ago, the Albany Times Union reported yesterday that he will recommend actions to help schools and local governments in his proposed budget.

High cost of closing a gap – Albany Times Union, January 13, 2013 – an article on the damage schools have absorbed from the Gap Elimination Adjustment, used to reduce the state’s costs for School Aid.

Here is a chart on the GEA’s impact that I have used over and over again.  It illustrates (1) that the 2011-12 GEA was regressive in cutting aid more steeply on a per pupil basis for poor districts; (2) that aid increases in the 2012-13 budget were more progressively distributed; but (3) the increases offset only a small proportion of what districts lost from the GEA.

Running short: Glens Falls area schools see funding trouble on horizon – Glens Falls Post-Star, January 20, 2013

Chautauqua School Boards Question Lawmakers – Jamestown Post-Journal, January 20, 2013

Learning time: the long and short of it – Adirondack Daily Enterprise, January 19, 2013

Syracuse Post-Standard cites our “Elephant in the Room” blog post, January 19, 2013

Candor, Spencer-Van Etten school districts study merger Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, January 13, 2013


School Safety
Siena poll: Little more than half New Yorkers oppose armed guards in schools – Syracuse Post-Standard, January 17, 2013.  A Siena College Research Institute survey shows New Yorkers opposing placing armed guards in public schools by a narrow 52-46 percent margin.  Opposition to arming teachers is clearer, with voters statewide opposing the idea by a 69-30 percent majority.

Upstaters are more likely to support both measures than residents of New York City or its suburbs.  I found it interesting that support for both ideas was stronger among 18 to 34 year-olds than in any other age group.  See questions 31 and 32 here for the details.

President Obama’s proposals on school safety – Washington Post, January 16, 2013

A column by BOCES Superintendent James Baldwin: Let’s stop failing our children – Albany Times Union, January 14, 2013.  The column stresses the need for greater mental health services.  I’ve been struck how often this theme has been raised by superintendents in my exchanges with them about what needs to be done to prevent more tragedies involving schoolchildren.

Comprehensive school safety recommendations from our national affiliate – the American Association of School Administrators, January 14, 2013

A summary from the Governor’s Office of the provisions the New York State “SAFE Act” enacted into law last week.

The summary does not cover two school related items:  The legislation also directs the Governor to create School Safety Improvement Teams which would, upon request by a district review local safety practices.  The bill also authorizes a 10 percentage point increase in the Building Aid reimbursement ratio for certain school safety improvements approved between July 2013 and July 2016.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013 at 10:48 am and is filed under Finance, Legislation, State Budget, Teachers. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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