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Education commission report sparks debate

The New NY Education Reform Commission released its preliminary recommendations last week, to much debate.

The New NY Education Reform Commission released its preliminary recommendations last week, to much debate.

— Implement full-day pre-kindergarten for highest-needs students

Create “community schools” to streamline services and resources

Extend the school day and the school year

Improve the state’s ability to recruit, prepare and retain top-notch teachers and administrators by:

Increasing admission requirements for candidates pursuing teaching degrees

Providing more classroom time prior to obtaining certification

Creating a “bar exam” for teachers to ensure competency

Incentivizing teacher performance

Create early-college high schools and career education programs to better bridge the gap between high school and higher education

Incentivize the innovative use of technology

Pursue efficiencies such as district consolidation, high school regionalization and shared services to increase student access to educational opportunities

Create a performance management system for schools to improve transparency and accountability of district leadership

The full report can be read at governor.ny.gov/assets/documents/EducationReformCommissionReport.pdf. A final report is expected to be released in the fall of 2013.

The response

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten who served on the commission, was pleased with the work it had done, particularly the inclusion of a ‘bar exam” for teachers.

“This assessment would replace today’s patchwork of pre-service tests as well as require prospective teachers to show a clinical-based understanding of how to teach before walking into a classroom,” Weingarten said.

She also expressed faith in the state’s ability to accomplish the recommendations made.

“It offers constructive, doable, evidence-based recommendations that, if adopted, would immediately help New York public school students and their educators by providing greater educational opportunity,” Weingarten said. “By offering a full range of sound proposals — such as preparing teachers well; preparing our youngest for kindergarten; ensuring that wraparound services are available to students who need them; offering career technical education, early high school and other programs that prepare students well for college and career—the commission has produced a commendable, comprehensive report.”

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