Graduation measures, physical education, and charters were the primary focus of the March Board of Regents meeting.
Staff from SED presented information on the intersection of high school graduation and ESSA requirements. The presentation by SED provided clarifying information on what ESSA does and does not require.
- Adopt academic standards aligned with public higher education entrance requirements.
- Establish long-term goals and interim progress points for graduation.
- Identify high schools in need of comprehensive support and improvement.
- Use high school graduation rates to differentiate school performance.
- Publically report data on graduation rates and other accountability measures.
- Assess students in high school on reading and math between grades 9-12, and science between grades 10-12.
ESSA does not require:
- States to submit its standards to the USDE for review or approval.
- Use state assessments for graduation purposes.
- Award high school credit based on ESSA requirements.
- Students to pass specific courses or credits needed for graduation.
Discussion Around the Table
Over time it seems that our system of accountability has blurred the public perception of what is required for graduation. Certainly, the two are related, but there are clear areas delineating the two. Some of the line-blurring is the result of NYS using its assessment system for several competing purposes. The following questions were raised:
Regent Mead asked if there were any performance-based assessments that have been recognized by the USDE for accountability purposes.
Regent Brown took a few minutes to explain why New York did not ultimately participate in a pilot demonstration for optional assessment types as allowed by the USDE (no funding for states to pursue their development).
Several members of the board inquired into the flexibility that individual districts have in regard to developing their own curriculum.
More information on the presentation may be found here.
Early Childhood Blue Ribbon Committee (ECBRC)
The work of the ECBRC subcommittee on Workforce Preparation was presented to the board for discussion. The subcomittee was charged with providing recommendations for strengthening the practice and preparation of teachers of students birth to age three and birth to age twelve. Some of the recommendations being considered are:
- Expanding the early childhood education certification to include grade 3.
- Work with the Institutes of Higher Education (IHE) to allow credit for experience and expertise in OCFS and school district settings.
- Strengthen IHE registration qualifications for preparation programs aligned with NAEYC standards.
- Include development in multicultural home languages, whole child development, trauma informed practices, and family engagement as part of the IHE coursework and field experiences.
- Consider specialization or concentrations in infant and toddler or prekindergarten.
- Consider allowing credit-bearing Child Development Associate Certification to satisfy college coursework needed for a NYS teaching certificate.
- Consider requiring CTLE hours for early childhood education teachers and building leaders to establish a set number of credits in areas such as brain development, infant/toddler, early literacy, and culturally and linguistically relevant pedagogy.
Impartial Hearing Officer Regulatory Changes
After last month’s discussion on the high number of impartial hearings in NYS, SED returned to the BOR with recommended changes regarding impartial hearing officers. This item was for discussion with a 60-day public comment period. The proposed regulations focus on expanding the number of potential hearing officers, privacy, and use of video conferencing.
Expanding the Pool of IHO Applicants
- Remove restrictions that all IHOs must be attorneys licensed only in New York State.
- Broaden the experience of IHOs to include acceptable law practice such as administrative law.
- Reduce the number of years of experience needed to be an IHO from two years of experience to one.
- Expand the pool of applicants by allowing the cortication for non-attorneys in NYC only. Such applicants would need a master’s degree in education, special education, psychology, or a related field, and two years of experience applying knowledge of federal or state laws pertaining to IDEA, education, special education, or other related fields.
Require IHOs to maintain student confidentiality and render decisions in a consistent format as specified by NYSED and to comply with FERPA.
IHOs may receive testimony and conduct hearings via video conference. Such a process would require the consent of both parties and must maintain confidentiality. More information on these proposed regulations may be found here.
Work on revising the 1996 Standards for Physical Education began in 2018. The standards were revised through the work of a statewide panel of practitioners and instructional leaders. The newly released standards, approved by the board, strengthened the connection between physical and mental health, reflected the NYS Social Emotional benchmarks, and the NYS Mental Health initiative.
More information on the new physical education standards may be found here.
Aligning Linguistic Demands to the Next Generation Learning Standards
The Bilingual Progression documents must be updated to better support educators and students. The board felt language learning should take place in content learning and place, rather than in a more restrictive approach that places greater emphasis on grammatical structures and vocabulary.
More information on this item may be found here.