PRIORITY ISSUE: Education Standards and Accountability

Young people entering the workforce must have a strong grounding in challenging academic subjects to compete successfully. Competition only grows more intense in today's global economy. In 1950, 60 percent of jobs for new workers were classified as unskilled, compared to just 15% today.

Over the past several years, our education system has raised the learning standards for all students to ensure that young people will get the high quality education they need.

The passage of five Regents Exams helps certify that completion of high school means that a student has actually received a high school education. They must not be undermined by the legislature in any way. New York State is ranked second in the amount of money it spends (approximately $38 billion) in state and local dollars on education and is in the middle with regard to student performance.

Any additional dollars provided by the State do not have a chance of making a difference unless the following things happen:

Maintain valid, reliable and comparable assessments including the five Regents exams required for graduation. The state tests have revealed the performance gap between poor and/or minority students and the more affluent. They have also revealed that not all schools are failing their poor and/or minority students. They point the way to school improvement.

We urge the legislature to support the State's testing program - it underpins school improvement and accountability. It's key to knowing whether students have met the state standards.  Accountability is based on having a high quality, objective and comparative assessment system. Key components include the following: