NY State: More Schooling, Full Pre-K, Better Teachers

Governor's plan uses international data, which lists the US as having a shorter school year compared to higher-ranking nations.


Cesar Perales, Secretary of State of New York, detailed Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan for New York at a recent gathering in Hudson Valley.

He presented a PowerPoint and fielded questions at Ramapo Town Hall Monday night. He looked at several aspects from economic development to education standards.

The four core elements of Cuomo's plan are:

  1. Attract good jobs and economic growth.
  2. Create a world-class education system that prepares the next generation for the future.
  3. Establish fiscal integrity and discipline.
  4. Restore NY as the progressive capital of the nation.

The big push was “NY one-two punch: Jobs and Education.” With education, the state’s new plan is to look at “More and better.”

  • More Learning Time
  • More Early Education
  • Better Teachers
  • More and Better

More learning time

“We have to seriously think about radical change,” said Perales. He added that the current school calendar was formed during a high agriculture society so kids could have the summer off to help families on the farm, but now times have changed. "The reality of it is, we have got to figure out a way to address school hours. Lots of countries are getting ahead of us. If you look at countries that are doing the best, they have longer school days and larger number of school days."

The average number of annual school days and international rankings are as follows according to the powerpoint presentation:

Country Rankings Reading Math Science # of School Days Korea No. 1 No. 1  No. 1  205.9 Canada No. 3 No. 5 No. 5 190 US No.  14 No. 25 No. 17 179.9

Creating more learning time will be an option for every school district in which the state will pay 100 percent for the additional cost.

Three options:

  • longer days
  • longer year
  • a combination of both

More early education

Cuomo is pushing for real pre-k for all children because quality early education is critical for long-term success

Studies show that children who attend full-day pre-k:

  • Perform 25% better on math exams by the second grade, and 20% better on English exams than those who did not.
  • Are nearly 30% more likely to graduate from high school.
  • Are 40% less likely to repeat a grade.
  • Are 32% less likely to be arrested as a juvenile.

Because of these studies, the state is looking to make pre-kindergarten a full day

  • Currently, universal pre-k is provided by 67% of school districts, which equals, on average, to 2.5 hours a day.
  • We will expand the pre-k program to “full day,” at least 5 hours a day.
  • We will start with the students in the lowest wealth school districts.

Better teachers

“Teaching is one of the most important professions in society and we must attract and incentivize the best to become teachers” according to the powerpoint.

Cuomo plans to implement the overhaul of teacher training and certification

  • Increase admission standards for entry into education training programs.
  • Implement a “bar exam” that teachers must pass in order to receive certification.

Cuomo is looking to create a performance culture with two key aspects: 

  1. Evaluations of teachers’ progress and achievement.
  • New York State’s teacher evaluation system has been a great success.
  • The 4 percent state funding increase is premised on getting an agreement by January 17, 2013.
  • More than 90 percent have submitted plans that last only a year 
  • Will continue to link state aid increases for districts that don’t have plans

    2.  New York must pay for performance

  • Incentivize high performing teachers
  • We propose a program where high performing “master teachers” will receive $15,000 in supplemental income annually for four years to teach other teachers.
  • These master teachers will train other teachers to improve performance in the classroom.
  • Our program will replicate the Jim Simons’ Math and Science for America program in New York. Program currently in NYC—we will expand to around the state starting next year. 

More & Better: Education in Distressed Communities

Demands of schools in wealthier districts are different than demands in lowest wealth districts. Since a school is not just a “school” in distressed communities, the state is looking to create community schools in these communities.

  • Community schools offer education plus support services—serve as the hub for all community services
  • Provides health, employment, after school and other services.
  • Replicate successful models such as Cincinnati Community Learning Centers, Harlem Children’s Zone, Say Yes to Education and Strive 


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