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For Release — September 26, 2013

The Business Council of New York State engages businesses in education reform

The Business Council's goal is to create a formal process to allow New York business to be more involved in education reform initiatives.

ALBANY, N.Y.—The Business Council of New York State, Inc. announced today it is placing major emphasis on education reform as a key component of its Upstate Futurist Project to revitalize the state's economy. At The Business Council's Annual Meeting at The Sagamore Resort in Bolton Landing, the Board of Directors voted to create a board-level education policy committee that will focus on educational issues including secondary and post-secondary education and workforce development.

State Education Commissioner John King noted that the business community's support is important to bring change to the state's education system, during a panel discussion hosted by The Business Council and moderated by Heather C. Briccetti, Esq., president and CEO of The Business Council.

James Malatras, chief of staff and vice chancellor of the State University of New York, said traditional Kindergarten through 12th grade education and post-secondary education should be treated as a unified system. He pointed to the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (PTECH) model that is being implemented by the state in 16 locations with the support of The Business Council.

"The Business Council's interest in education stems from the urgent need for graduates who have the science, technology, engineering and math skills needed to succeed in the technology and manufacturing jobs our members are creating," said Ms. Briccetti. "Our goal in forming a board-level committee focused on education reform is to create a formal process for business to be more involved in education reform initiatives."

In her opening remarks during The Business Council's panel discussion on education reform, Ms. Briccetti noted that New York is ranked second in the nation in education spending, but ranks only slightly better than the U.S. average in math and reading proficiency as measured by standardized tests.

Commissioner King noted the urgent need for the state's educational system to improve performance and the recently implemented Common Core standards to ensure success. He also stressed professional development for teachers and principals as being an essential part of education reform. The Business Council's Annual Meeting concludes on Friday with a discussion of the upstate economy to be led by Kenneth Adams, president and CEO of Empire State Development and commissioner of the New York State Department of Economic Development.

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