Education Committee Newsletter

 February 2001

Regents Bring Career and Technical Education Up to Par With Standards

At the end of January 2001 the New York State Board of Regents adopted a proposal that raises the standards for Career and Technical Education while giving schools and students more flexibility in how they can reach the standards.

Over the course of 18 months the Regents and the Department consulted with administrators, teachers, parents, business and testing experts, to develop their new Career and Technical Education policy.

The new policy includes the following elements:

CTE students must pass all required Regents examinations or alternatives approved by the State Assessment Panel, at the same level of performance as required of all students in New York State. All students will also be eligible for component testing when it becomes available. The key change is in the flexibility granted in terms of required course work, and the content and structure of the curriculum.

The Business Council supports this new Regents policy for CTE students. We believe it will improve both students academic and vocational education. It will ultimately lead to greater success in the workplace or post-secondary education.

Standard Setting Studies

The State Education Department’s Office of state Assessment is planning the standard setting studies for the new state exams that will be administered for the first time during this school year.

Standard setting is the process by which the Department establishes the scores that are used to judge student performance. The Department is inviting a business representative to serve as an observer to the process for each of the tests.

Governor’s School Aid Proposal

The Governor’s budget proposed a $382 million (2.79%) overall increase in school aid for the 2001-02 school year. This represents a $313 million increase in formula aids and a $69 million increase in categorical grants.

The Governor’s recommendations include combining 11 aid formulas into one called “Flex Aid.” This new single aid formula would include operating aid and special education aids to name just two. While it offers school districts considerably more decision-making power on how funds are spent, it also causes consternation among people worried about whether or not certain children will be served.

Changes are also proposed for building aid in order to contain some of the costs the present formula would generate. Other recommendations include the following:

Among the programs the Governor’s budget proposes to eliminate are: