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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 11, 2017
For More Information Contact:

JP O’Hare or Jeanne Beattie

(518) 474-1201

www.nysed.gov

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Board of Regents Early Childhood Workgroup’s Blue Ribbon Committee Presents Budget Recommendations to Full Board of Regents

Recommendations Total $37 Million, Reflect Long-Term Mission to Transform Early Care and Education System

Members of the Board of Regents Early Childhood Workgroup Blue Ribbon Committee today presented budget recommendations to the full Board for consideration and inclusion in the Board’s 2018-19 Budget Request. The recommendations, which total $37 million for the 2018-19 State Fiscal Year, have been thoughtfully prepared and reflect the constraints of the current fiscal climate. These recommendations will help frame the Board’s discussion in the coming weeks and months on how to improve outcomes for New York’s youngest learners and how to ensure they are ready for kindergarten and beyond. 

“Without the strong start that high-quality early childhood education provides, children who fall behind may never catch up, creating an achievement disparity that will only increase as they move through school,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. “We need a clear and comprehensive strategy to ensure that all of New York’s children can begin their educational careers with the same opportunities to thrive. We thank the Committee for its work and recommendations to put us on the path for success for all our early learners.”

“Children who attend high-quality early care and education programs are better prepared for kindergarten, have stronger language skills in the first years of elementary school and are less likely to repeat a grade or drop out of school,” Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said. “We have to make sure we plan within the constraints of what we know is going to be a difficult budget year, but also have to ensure our youngest students have access to programs that will put them on the road to success.”

“We envision a New York where all children thrive from birth, flourish in preschool and enter the school-age program on a trajectory for success,” Workgroup Co-Chair Regent Lester W. Young said. “To achieve this, we must encourage targeted strategies and policies that support the diversity of our state’s student population.”

“These initiatives will help our youngest learners get a high-quality start in education to become ready for kindergarten, stay on track to graduate from high school, and be successful in life,” Workgroup Co-Chair Regent Luis O. Reyes said. “It’s critical that we increase the availability of high-quality family and community engagement opportunities for all families with young children in New York State.”

The Committee’s recommendations seek to align and integrate work to ensure that all New York State’s children experience improved outcomes through access to services that are developmentally appropriate and responsive to culture, race, ethnicity, language, citizenship status, and socioeconomic status.

BUDGET RECOMMENDATIONS

The long-term mission of the BRC’s work is to transform the birth to age eight early care and education system in the state of New York. To realize this vision, throughout the next five years a phased-in approach of the BRC’s recommended budget proposals will be advanced. The priority is to serve high-need children and reflect a coordinated effort with other state agencies and initiatives. Budget recommendations include:

  1. Provide $20M in year one to expand the prekindergarten program to approximately 2,000 four-year-old children in 40 school districts, targeting areas of highest need first, and phasing in additional funds over subsequent years until Prekindergarten is fully universal for four-year-old children in New York State. Child seats would be funded at $10,000 per child or double the district’s half-day Universal Prekindergarten allocation, whichever is greater, until an alternate funding method is developed pursuant to a study of the actual costs of quality prekindergarten programs in New York State.  
  2. Provide $300,000 to conduct a cost study to validate the actual cost of a high-quality prekindergarten program for all four-year-old children, with appropriate weightings for areas of economic disadvantage, emergent multilingual learners, and students with disabilities, followed by a similar study for three-year-old children. 
  3. Provide $6M for pilot programs which will target funding to half-day and full-day 10-month and summer inclusion prekindergarten programs for three and four-year-old children. Funds would be blended and layered with existing prekindergarten and preschool special education funding to support classrooms comprised of both preschool students with and without disabilities, which will be subject to a newly developed methodology pursuant to Chapter 59 of the law of 2017.
  4. Provide $2M to establish five Early Learning Regional Technical Assistance Centers to provide support to early care and educational settings (i.e. in areas that include mental health consultation, training in social/emotional learning and development such as the New York State Pyramid Model, professional development on implementing high-quality early childhood education, among others).
  5. Provide $2M that is formula-driven (non-competitive) at the statewide, regional, local and programmatic levels that gives targeted communities the opportunity to self-identify and meet their specific family and community engagement needs. The objective of the funding would be to create program models that weave family and community influence into all levels of the educational system.
  6. Provide $3M to expand the availability of QUALITYstarsNY throughout the state by improving assessment tools and staff support, strengthening the existing system, improving coordination by leveraging all resources available for quality improvement and expanding the number of programs and classrooms receiving support from QUALITYstarsNY. Currently, funding can only reach a small percentage of early care and education programs.
  7. Provide $2.5M to adopt and implement a competency-based approach in pre-service teacher preparation programs and in-service professional development for new and existing educators and leaders, ensuring that all teachers are prepared to teach all students, especially as the student population continues to increase in diversity. This funding would be directed at professional development that requires all teachers to be culturally competent, culturally responsive, and linguistically capable.
  8. Provide $500,000 to fund the first step toward the creation of a unified HIPAA and FERPA- compliant data system to meet the needs of children and families by tracking all screening and assessment services to capture and share relevant and useful results with parents, educators, health care organizations and other agencies.
  9. Provide $700,000 as a first step toward the implementation of a comprehensive developmental screening process for all children ages zero to eight that includes vision, hearing, physical and dental health, speech and language skills, fine and gross motor skills, and social, emotional and cognitive development, according the American Academy of Pediatrics Bright Futures Chart.

EARLY CHILDHOOD BLUE RIBBON COMMITTEE MEETINGS

The Board of Regents established the Early Childhood Blue Ribbon Committee to provide advice to the Board of Regents’ Early Childhood Workgroup in the areas of budget investments, educational policy and legislative initiatives. The Blue Ribbon Committee was comprised of national and state experts who examined, amended and addressed education policy as it relates to early childhood education. Members were charged with developing a series of policy recommendations that reflect informed judgement, and established best practices and collaborations, resulting in the implementation of high-quality early childhood and education programs with highly effective educators across New York State.

The Blue Ribbon Committee met three times between September and November 2017 in New York City, Rochester and Dobbs Ferry. Committee members met with their topic area groups, discussed issues and solutions, and turned these solutions into recommendations for the Board’s consideration. In addition, local experts were invited to attend the meeting in their respective regions to provide a local perspective and contribute to the work of the Blue Ribbon Committee.

NEXT STEPS

NYSED staff will continue to work over the next few months with representatives of the Board of Regents Early Childhood Workgroup and the Blue Ribbon Committee to finalize the set of recommendations that specifically fall in the areas of education policy and legislative priorities.

The Early Childhood Workgroup’s full presentation and the Blue Ribbon Committee's report can be found on the Board of Regents website.

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