April 17, 2014
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Members of the Smart Schools Commission

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the members of the Smart Schools Commission, who will be charged with advising the State on how to best invest the Governors proposed $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act in order to enhance teaching and learning through technology. The Governor proposed the Smart Schools initiative during his 2014 State of the State in order to reimagine New Yorks public schools for the 21st century.

It is a simple fact that disparity remains in our education system, with some schools providing tablets in the first grade and others where the most sophisticated piece of electronic equipment is the metal detector that students walk through on the way to the classroom, Governor Cuomo said. In the State of the State, we called for a $2 billion Smart Schools Initiative to transform our classrooms from the classrooms of yesterday to the classrooms of tomorrow. This panel will help guide this bold initiative and reimagine our classrooms to provide New Yorks students with the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century economy.

With access to advanced technology and a more interactive curriculum in the classroom, students are more likely to successfully learn at their own pace and gain the skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century economy.  Additionally, improvements in technology can be used to increase the frequency of communication between parents and teachers, as well as offer teachers further assistance and training through online venues.

If approved by the States voters in November, funding from the Smart Schools Bond Act would be used for enhanced education technology in schools, with eligible projects including the purchase of classroom technology for use by students and teachers, as well as infrastructure improvements to bring high-speed broadband to schools and communities in their school district. Additionally, Smart Schools will enable long-term investments in full-day pre-kindergarten through the construction of new pre-kindergarten classroom space, replace classroom trailers with permanent classroom space and make investments in high-tech school safety projects.

The members of the Smart Schools Commission are:

Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman and Former CEO of Google: Mr. Schmidt joined Google in 2001 and helped grow the company from a Silicon Valley startup to a global leader in technology. He served as Googles Chief Executive Officer from 2001-2011, overseeing the companys technical and business strategy alongside founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Under his leadership Google dramatically scaled its infrastructure and diversified its product offerings while maintaining a strong culture of innovation.

Mr. Schmidt said, To prepare today's students to compete in the global innovation economy, schools need to provide modern educational environments that include the latest technology.  New York State's efforts to upgrade classrooms with critical infrastructure like high-speed broadband and to equip students with digital devices are welcome first steps in achieving that goal.

Geoffrey Canada, President and CEO for Harlem Childrens Zone: In his 30 years with Harlem Children's Zone, Inc., Mr.  Canada has become nationally recognized for his pioneering work helping children and families in Harlem and as a passionate advocate for education reform.  The New York Times Magazine called Harlem Childrens Zone "one of the most ambitious social policy experiments of our time." In October 2005, Mr. Canada was named one of "America's Best Leaders" by U.S. News and World Report, and last month Fortune named him one of the Worlds Greatest 50 Leaders.

Mr. Canada said, "I am thrilled to be able to help New York State schools change the odds for its children through state-of-the-art educational technology. While having a great teacher in every classroom is still important, technology can boost their ability to reach each and every kid in the most effective way."

Constance Evelyn, Superintendent of the Auburn School District in Cayuga County: Ms. Evelyn has served as the Superintendent of Schools for the Auburn Enlarged City School District since August 2012. Prior to serving as Superintendent she has held a variety of leadership positions in Upstate schools including the Ithaca City School District, Oswego City Schools, Rome City Schools, and Bedford Central School District.

Ms. Evelyn said, There is a stark difference between a classroom outfitted with up to date, advanced technology, and one without. As we prepare our students to compete and find jobs in an economy that places high value on technical literacy, it is of vital importance that all our children have access to the classrooms where they can develop these skills. I am pleased to serve on this panel and work together with the Governor and this team to properly enact the Smart Schools Initiative and modernize our states classrooms.

 

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