Educators Offer Ideas During Governor's Education Commission Hearing
Governor Andrew Cuomo's New New York Education Reform Commission was in Rochester on Monday. The commission heard about problems in the state public education system and ideas on how to correct them. One of the greatest obstacles is what educators call the "achievement gap."
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
Rochester City Hall was the site of the 12th and final hearing before the Governor's Education Reform Commission.
It heard from a number of panelists that addressed many issues. The teacher evaluation system and a new core of common standards were among them. Teachers say they are in favor of this but would like the state to supply them tools such as text books and curriculum to become better educators.
"We're willing, we have an open mind to this, we know we need to do better but you have to give us more than just mandates and orders. You have to give us the tools and the time to do this,” said Adam Urbanski, Rochester Teachers Association.
Early education intervention was another topic presented to the Commission. It's already underway in Chemung County as a community collaboration aimed at improving school readiness for children. It helps address the poverty issue where tools are given to families that need them most.
Former SUNY Chancellor Carl Hayden says it's already a proven commodity in the city of Elmira closing the achievement gap by nearly 50 percent.
"It starts with nurse home visits to every new mother. That nurse becomes that mother's navigator, that mother's guide, that mother's helper; teaches the mothers about developmental progress, the signs and symptoms what to look for, the kind of activities that increase literacy,” Hayden said. “It involves setting quality standards for child care, it involves parental education and it involves linking up the health community with new parents."
Other education experts testifying at the hearing agree that early intervention is the key to closing that achievement gap.
Jody Siegel, president of the Monroe County School Boards Association, says if students are not ready to learn by kindergarten, those children are already behind and have a challenge to catch up. That can put students at risk through their entire academic careers.
"There have been a number of studies, in addition to the ones here, that demonstrate over and over again how effective that program has been for helping children not only be ready for school but be less likely to be victims of child abuse and less likely to be involved in criminal activity when they become older," Siegel said.
New York spends more per student than any state in the country but ranks just 39th in high school graduation rates. The Commission will take all recommendations into consideration then devise a plan to increase educational productivity and student performance in New York State.