New York Governor Cuomo Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order on April 30 creating the New York Education Reform Commission. The commission includes state and national leaders in government, education, business, and the nonprofit sector. Michael A. Rebell, executive director of the National Access Network and of the Campaign for Educational Equity, Teachers College, Columbia University will be one of the commissioners.
This new education panel is charged with recommending reforms to improve student performance so that all New York students are fully prepared to compete in the global economy. The commission will explore solutions to wide range of education policy issues, including: teacher recruitment and evaluation; the problems of high-need and low-wealth school communities; education funding, distribution, and costs; the structuring of the state’s more than 700 school districts; and parent and family engagement–issues that Governor Cuomo argues other government bodies have not fully addressed.
The commission is being asked to make recommendations about how to make education spending more efficient and reduce education expenses overall–a difficult task amidst years of education-related budget cuts. Rebell stated that although he agrees that greater cost efficiency and cost effectiveness must be pursued, “the bottom line is that a series of budget cuts over the past three years have rendered the current state education finance system unconstitutional, and I think the commission has a paramount responsibility to ensure that the state is providing all students the opportunity for a sound basic education that the constitution requires–now, and not at some future date.”
The panel is expected to produce an “action plan” that the Governor and the Legislature can implement for the 2013 school year. The commission’s preliminary set of recommendations will be released by December 1, 2012. The Commission will meet multiple times and will gather information from across the state through various public hearings.
Former Citigroup and Time Warner executive Richard Parsons will chair New York Education Reform Commission. Below is the complete list of participants: