NYSUT Legislation – January 11, 2013
NYSUT’s reaction to the State of the State address and a copy of the complete text can be found here:
Governor Cuomo calls for implementation of the “New NY Education Reform Commission Action Plan” recommendations, which call for:
Providing quality full-day pre-kindergarten programs in the highest need communities
- Funding would be targeted toward the highest need students in the lowest wealth districts and funded via a grant process limited to effective, research-based early learning models.
Strengthening support systems for children and families through Community School models
- Creation of a statewide Community Schools model would integrate public, non-profit and private resources and services, and use schools as hubs to bring essential support services directly to students and their families.
Extending learning time and opportunities for students
- A competitive grant program would provide an incentive for school districts to improve student achievement by adding more time to their school calendar for academic programs, with the following features:
- Specific plans to be developed by the school districts based on rigorous criteria;
- The district must extend learning time by at least 25 percent and demonstrate that it will result in better outcomes for students; and
- It must be part of a comprehensive initiative to transform the entire structure and instructional time of the school.
Expanding and replicating successful Early College High School models
- Would include the launch of an Early College High School (ECHS) Challenge Grant to attract private support and replicate successful ECHS models, continue existing successful programs and start new initiatives across New York State.
Recruiting the best and brightest educators into our schools and instituting stricter standards for entry into the profession
- Increasing admission requirements for all SUNY and CUNY teacher preparation programs;
- Requiring teachers to participate in more frequent and higher quality student-teaching in school settings before earning certification; and
- Creating a “bar exam for teachers.”
“Paying for performance” of the highest-performing teachers
- Replicating the “Math for America program (MFA)” in New York, to reward high-performing “Master Teachers” with $15,000 in supplemental income annually for four years. The “Master Teachers” would train other teachers to improve performance in the classroom.
Establishing Innovation Zones to enhance the use of technology in teaching and learning
- Innovation Zones would be created by awarding competitive grants to school districts that propose innovative ways to use technology to enhance curriculum and to improve student learning.
Creating a performance management system to improve accountability and transparency
- Continue to require districts to implement teacher and principal evaluation plans which would include tying state aid increases to approved evaluation plans; and
- Increase ways to track progress, identify areas of strength and weakness throughout our public education system.
Incentivizing school district consolidation, regionalization, and shared services
- New NY Government Reorganize and Citizen Empowerment Act would incentivize consolidation and regionalization of school districts.
Education revenue would be realized via an increase in upstate tourism through destination resorts/casino gaming
- Any revenue raised under the plan would be split 90 percent for education and 10 percent for local property tax relief.
- The Governor proposes the Next Generation Job Linkage Program that would align job-training programs delivered by community colleges to industry needs. State funding will be based on student job placement.
SUNY/CUNY 2020 Challenge Grants
- The Governor proposes a third round of SUNY 2020 challenge grants and would extend the program to CUNY.
- To facilitate technology transfer from academia to the marketplace, the Governor proposes three initiatives:
- The establishment of Innovation Hot Spots. Through a competitive process ten higher education/ private sector high-tech incubators would be selected to be part of “Hot Spots” – tax-free zones wherein high-tech start-ups would be exempted from business, real property and sales taxes;
- The creation of the Innovation NY Network to strengthen collaboration between academia and high-tech businesses to commercialize high-tech products; and
- A $50 million Venture Capital Fund would provide incentives for high-tech companies to stay in the state.
Labor, Environment and Social Justice
Workers Comp & Unemployment Insurance
- The Governor spoke briefly on the issue of workers’ compensation reform and the overhaul of the unemployment insurance in this speech. Details were few on both issues but he did state his proposal would bring the New York’s Unemployment Insurance system inline with other neighboring states.
- The Governor proposes an increase in the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.75. This would bring New York closer to some of our neighboring states.
Environmental & Green Issues
- Creation of a $1-billion Green Bank to help leverage loans for green projects. It is unclear if this program would be open to the greening of public buildings such as schools or for green projects related to education.
- The Governor proposed a host of reforms related to the firearms, including increasing the types of guns that would be classified as “assault weapons” under the state assault weapons ban, requiring background checks for private person-to-person gun sales in the same manner as business gun sales. Several other gun-related reforms were mentioned in the annual address, and legislation detailing the governor’s entire gun control package will undoubtedly be forthcoming soon.
- The Governor called for several new election process reforms, including expanding voting opportunities through early voting, lowering contribution limits and public financing of elections similar to the system already in place in New York City.
Women’s Equality Act
- The Governor proposes a 10-Point Women’s Equality Act, which would address the issues of pay equity, strengthening human traffic initiatives, ending family status and pregnancy discrimination and enacting the Reproductive Health Act, among other issues.