2004 LEGISLATIVE PROGRAM
EDUCATION AND JOB TRAINING
Following is The Business Council's 2004 Legislative Program. It identifies priority issues to be addressed by the Committees and Councils during 2004.
- Maintain strong support for the higher standards and graduation requirements. Specifically support the requirement that students pass five Regents exams (English Language Arts, Math, Science and two social studies) in order to received a high school diploma.
- Require neighboring school districts to accept students from schools designated as in need of improvement under the Federal No Child Left Behind law and regulations. Federal State, and local Funds should follow the student to the new school and district. No school should be required to accept more than 5 percent of its total enrollment for such transfers.
- Support the continuation and expansion of New York State's charter school law.
- Support tax credits for parents who send their children to non-public schools.
- Support legislation to establish public private partnerships for higher student achievement and workforce development.
- Support course work content flexibility so that students can achieve the standards and graduation requirements with a career and technical education concentration should they opt to do so.
- Support measures that enable schools to provide extra help to students struggling to meet the standards including extending the school day and/or school year, providing extra time or help after school or in summer school, and providing professional development for teachers.
- Continue to support widespread dissemination of school report cards. Note: New York State (as of January 1997) produces school report cards on every public school building in the state. These report cards are available from local school district offices, and also through the state education department web site: http://www.nysed.gov.
- Support changes in special education reimbursement methodology to remove any monetary incentive there may be with regard to the placement or labeling of students.
- Support the use of technology to improve instruction, to ensure that our children are technologically literate, to offer a wider range of courses through on-line learning, and to streamline administrative and management functions.
- Support the elimination of mandates:
- that experience shows adversely affect the order, safety, and optimal functioning of schools;
- that add to the costs of school construction such as the Wicks law;
- that hamper school governance and that result in restrictive work rules that, raise costs without improving results and are barriers to improving student achievement (such as the Triborough amendment).
- Support increased management flexibility to ensure that schools have high quality teachers, principals and administrators through pay related to performance and the reform of tenure, and repeal of the Triborough provision and any other such impediments to school improvement.
- Support the creation of an incentive and reward system for teachers and schools where substantial increases in student achievement have been made and/or are sustained.
- Support the provision of early childhood education programs to all children from low income families.
- Support measures that improve equity in the school aid formula. New York State currently is among the top three states in highest per pupil expenditure in the country, yet the wealth and ability of school districts to support schools varies widely.
- Support a multi-year, multi-million dollar commitment to fund investments in technology with universities and businesses that enter into partnerships around micro/nanotechnology, photonics and information technology and genomics and biotechnology.
- Support predictable tuition increases in SUNY and CUNY senior and community colleges that don't exceed the Consumer Price Index.
- Support enabling SUNY and CUNY to charge differential tuition between campuses and/or programs.
- SUNY and CUNY campuses should be allowed to use any tuition increase revenues to continue their efforts to raise quality standards.
- Support restoration of unrestricted aid to independent colleges and universities (commonly known as Bundy Aid) and continued improvements and funding enhancements in the Tuition Assistance Program. Part of any tuition increases should also be devoted to offset the higher tuition costs for needy students.
- Support merit scholarships and any expansion of such scholarships.
- Support additional state dollars and directing federal training dollars for incumbent worker training through employer consortium training programs.
- Support increased funding for community colleges to provide employer-specific training to individual employers on a contract course basis.
- Support individual training vouchers, based on income and circumstances, for individuals choosing short term non-degree training programs.
- Support expansion of the EPE (Employment Preparation Program) aid for adults who lack the basic skills needed to be successful in the job market. Allow employers to access such funds for on site GED programs. Support providing more basic skills training in the workplace.
- Support programs that provide teachers, guidance counselors and other educators with more information about employer's skill requirements and expectations.
- Support requiring the state to approve qualified unilateral apprentice programs even where the employer is a participant in a Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee.
- Support year-round youth programing that is focused on the exploration of high demand career opportunities and that help youth meet the state's academic standards.
- Support the utilization of federal training and TANIF funds to enable employers to hire and "tryout" persons who have a history of multiple barriers to employment that they have overcome.