The Business Council of New York State, Inc. supports, with amendments, the Governor’s proposals to ensure college and career readiness and programs which help students graduate high school with college credit, including support for Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and early college high school (ECHS) programs (S.7503 / A.9503).
AP Test Subsidy
The Governor proposed $5.8 million to subsidize the costs of AP and IB exam fees for low-income students. This investment has been attributed to New York seeing an increase of low-income test taking by 11.7%, compared to the national average of 1.6%.
With last year’s funding of $5.8 million, students were able to pay just $5 per exam. However, because of the increase in low-income students taking AP courses, the same amount of funding from last year will have less of an impact in FY2021.
In order to avoid an increased exam fee from $5 to $10 for low-income students, and to keep investing in the college and career preparedness for students, we request an additional $500,000 investment in the test subsidy to bring the total to $6.3 million. This small addition will keep the test cost low for students and families and continue to show the State’s commitment to college and career readiness for all students.
Early College High Schools
The more than 90 early college high school programs across the state are allowing students to get a jump start on college and career training by allowing them to obtain college credits up to an associate degree in high school. These programs have been impactful in improving student outcome in high school and sending students to college who may have not seen college as an option for them. For this reason, we support the Governor’s proposed $6 million to create at least 10 new early college high school programs; with priority for programs serving students in schools with graduation rates below the state average.
However, because of their unique model, these schools need unique support that is not currently available within the State Education Department (SED) infrastructure. With the proposal to add schools with this new funding, the State should also seek to ensure these schools have the support to ensure their success. BOCES have housed Technical Assistance Centers (TAC) for various programs across the state and are able to serve a network of schools in various regions.
We propose setting aside $500,000 of the $6 million available for new early college high school programs to fund one or more TAC dedicated to providing necessary program supports and guidance and to act as a professional learning network for these unique programs. This critical investment would support not only the long-term success of these individual programs but the network as a whole.
A P-TECH (one type of early college high school program) TAC would provide support to programs and the statewide network in the three broad areas that are the cornerstones of P-TECH design: 1) grades 9-12 curriculum, instruction, assessment and program business rules; 2) articulation with higher education; and 3) business partnerships. P-TECH early college high schools have the higher education and career alignment that industry is looking for, but these schools need additional resources in order continue their success.
The Business Council strongly supports policies that ensure equitable access to educational opportunities which ensure that New York has the qualified workforce necessary to further grow our economy. As such, The Business Council supports these proposals in the Governor’s Executive Budget with the amendments detailed above (S.7503 / A.9503).