New state laws influence school districts

School Paperwork Reduction

This bill authorizes the State Education Department Commissioner to receive and accept reports, plans, applications and all other information required to be reported by statute or regulation through electronic means. I voted in favor and this was signed by the Governor on Aug. 13.

Race to the Top

New York learned it was awarded nearly $700 million through Race to the Top by the United States Education Department on Aug. 24. New York was not awarded through the first round of grants earlier this year but the State Education Department changed its application so it could be reconsidered in the second round.

According to the State Department of Education, "the funding will help advance the Regents reform agenda through 27 projects over four grant years. About $350 million will be awarded to participating school districts and charter schools over the course of the grant to support implementation, while about $350 million will be used to build the capacity of educators statewide and directly support new curriculum models, standards, assessments, teacher and principal preparation and professional development, and the statewide student data system."

New York State's Race to the Top application incorporates reforms enabled by legislation enacted earlier this year. The legislation: (1) establishes a new teacher and principal evaluation system that makes student achievement data a substantial component of how educators are assessed and supported; (2) raises New York's charter school cap from 200 to 460 and enhances charter school accountability and transparency; (3) enables school districts to enter into contracts with Educational Partnership Organizations (the term for non-profit Education Management Organizations in New York State) for the management of their persistently lowest-achieving schools and schools under registration review; and (4) appropriates $20.4 million in capital funds to the State Education Department to implement its longitudinal data system.

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office. My office can be reached by mail at 200 North Second Street, Fulton, New York 13069, by e-mail at barclaw@assembly.state.ny.us or by calling 598-5185.

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