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Legislative Memo

BILL:

S.7503 (Budget) / A.9503 (Budget)

Support

SUBJECT:

P-12 Education budget proposals

 

DATE:

February 7, 2018

 

The Business Council of New York State strongly supports investments in education programs that better prepare students for college and career. As such, there are a number of programs the Governor has proposed increased funding for which The Business Council supports.

$15 Million Pre‐K Expansion
The additional investment in prekindergarten will bring high‐quality prekindergarten instruction to 3,000 three‐ and four‐year‐old children in high need school districts. Access to high quality pre-K is crucial for youth, as the 0-5 years are a tremendous time for brain growth and development. In an overview of 56 studies across 23 countries on four continents focused on pre-K, there was a strong positive impact on educational outcomes, health, and emotional development in the short and long term.1 There is also mounting evidence that crucial workforce skills such as communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking begin to develop in these early years. The inequity in access to quality pre-K will require more funding to serve all of New York’s students, but we support incremental increases in pre-K investments to improve access for those with the highest need.

$9 million increase for Early College High School Programs to create 15 new early college high schools
The Business Council strongly supports increased expansion of programs that better prepare student for college and career, including early college high school programs in schools that currently have limited access. New York State Education Department data show schools that serve the largest number of low-income students offer less access to advanced coursework than their higher income counterparts. Access to advanced coursework has been shown to have a significant impact on students’ success in high school and future success in college and career. Because New York’s economy is very much affected by the number of students graduating college and career ready, The Business Council supports this proposal.

$6 million to expand high‐quality computer science and engineering education
Business Council members across New York struggle to find talent in computer science and technology fields, and our P-12 education system has been extremely slow to incorporate computer science coursework into schools across the State. While the $6 million for ‘Smart Start’ is a small investment relative to what is needed to bring valuable computer science coursework to all of New York’s schools, the Business Council supports this initial investment. We also caution the State Education Department from having a teacher certification process in computer science that is over burdensome. Schools across New York have had math and science teachers successfully teaching computer science for many years, and the addition of a computer science teacher certification should not prohibit already certified math and science teachers from continuing to teach these courses.

$2.5 million increase in funding for Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) programs
AP and IB programs provide students meaningful, rigorous coursework and valuable skills needed in the 21st Century workplace such as problem solving and critical thinking. Therefore, The Business Council supports increased funding to allow more students access to this valuable coursework. All students who lean into this challenging coursework should be able to take the associated exams which may lead to college credit, regardless of their income status. In addition to the $2 million increase (for a total of $4 million) to subsidize AP and IB exam fees for low-income students, the $500,000 in technical assistance grants for schools to expand advanced coursework for those who have limited offerings is also crucial. Based on New York State Education Department data, 29% of schools statewide that serve the largest number of low-income students offer no AP or IB courses, making a student’s zip code a determinant of their access to advanced coursework.

The economic vitality of New York is largely dependent on our ability to prepare students for college and career. If we want more students graduating career and college ready, we need to ensure that all students have access to the rigorous coursework that will better prepare them to succeed in the 21st Century workforce. These budget proposals represent a small investment in the right direction to better preparing New York’s workforce, as such The Business Council strongly supports them.


  1. Business Case for Early Childhood Investments [PDF document]. Retrieved from ReadyNation Online Web site: https://strongnation.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/186/4d79d67e-6c80-46ff-a9a4-2ed2eeef54c5.pdf?1496946769&inline;%20filename="Business%20Case%20for%20Early%20Education_RN_NAT.pdf