WHEREAS, a strong public education system is the cornerstone of a democratic society, helping to strengthen the middle class, lift families and individuals out of poverty and fuel economic growth and innovation; and
WHEREAS, the public education system provides our children the opportunity to become productive members of society, obtain a college education and thrive in an increasingly competitive world; and
WHEREAS, New York State and local spending on public education exceeds $53 billion annually – the highest per-pupil spending level in the nation – yet New York ranks 38th in graduation rate as of 2011 and scores below the national average in 4th and 8th grade mathematics on the Nation’s Report Card, and only 37 percent of its students are college ready upon graduation from high school; and
WHEREAS, the State faces unprecedented economic and educational challenges that require fundamental changes in the way our government and school systems do business; and
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of the State of New York, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of New York, do hereby order as follows:
A. The New NY Education Reform Commission
1. There is hereby established the New NY Education Reform Commission (“the Commission”). The Commission shall provide guidance and advice to the Governor on matters pertaining to education policy, performance and innovation.
2. The Governor shall appoint up to 25 voting members to the Commission. The members of the Commission shall include, but not be limited to, representatives of academic institutions, representatives of public employees, and stakeholders with experience in education policy.
3. No member of the Commission shall be disqualified from holding any public office or employment, nor shall he or she forfeit any such office or employment by virtue of his or her appointment hereunder. All members of the Commission and its subcommittees shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor.
4. The Governor shall designate a Chair, or co-Chairs, from among the members of the Commission. Every agency, department, office, division or public authority of this State shall cooperate with the Commission and furnish such information and assistance as the Commission determines is reasonably necessary to accomplish its purposes.
5. A majority of the total members of the Commission who have been appointed shall constitute a quorum, and all recommendations of the Commission shall require approval of a majority of its total members. Any subcommittee shall present its findings to the Commission for approval.
6. The Commission shall attempt to engage and solicit the additional input of a broad and diverse range of groups, organizations, and individuals who are not members of the Commission, including, without limitation, members of school boards, superintendents, principals, teachers, parents and representatives of public sector employees, and may request documents, conduct public hearings, hear the testimony of witnesses and take any other actions it deems necessary to carry out its purposes.
B. Duties and Purpose
1. In carrying out its responsibilities, the Commission shall study the best national and international public education models and best practices in order to make recommendations regarding ways to increase educational productivity and student performance in New York State.
2. The Commission shall comprehensively review and assess New York State’s education system, including its structure, operation and processes, with the goal of uncovering successful models and strategies and developing long-term efficiencies that will create significant savings while improving student achievement and providing students with a high-quality education. Such review shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
- a. studying teacher recruitment and performance, including incentives to keep the best teachers, and the teacher preparation, certification and evaluation systems;
- b. analyzing factors that support student achievement from pre-kindergarten through high school in order to ensure that all students are on track to graduate from high school ready for college, careers, and active citizenship;
- c. evaluating education funding, distribution of State aid, and operating costs to identify efficiencies in spending while maintaining the quality of educational programs, including special education;
- d. increasing parent and family engagement, including examining the school calendar and district-level policies that increase parental involvement;
- e. examining the unique set of issues faced by high-need urban and rural school districts, including comparing best practices and identifying the different services that these districts might require to be successful;
- f. analyzing the availability of technology and its best use in the classroom, including the accessibility of, and obstacles to, using technology in the classroom in light of the requirements and demands of the job market to best prepare our students; and
- g. examining the overall structure of New York’s education system to determine whether it meets the needs of our students while respecting the taxpayer.
3. The Commission shall compare student achievement outcomes with education spending, focusing on districts that generate higher than average achievement per dollars spent, including high-need school districts that are providing students with the opportunity to receive a sound basic education, and identifying how school districts can boost student achievement without increasing spending.
4. The Commission shall submit preliminary recommendations to the Governor by December 1, 2012, or such other date as the Governor shall advise the Commission. The Commission shall make final recommendations to the Governor no later than September 1, 2013, at which time it shall terminate its work and be relieved of all responsibilities and duties hereunder, unless its authority is extended.
G I V E N under my hand and the Privy Seal of the
State in the City of Albany this thirtieth
day of April in the year two thousand twelve.
BY THE GOVERNOR
Secretary to the Governor