Agreement Delays and Protects Students from the Effects of Common Core Test-based Assessments
Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assemblymember Cathy Nolan, chair of the Education Committee, announced today the State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2014-15 budget agreement increases education funding by $1.12 billion and includes a five-year investment of $1.5 billion for the expansion of full-day universal pre-kindergarten (UPK) across the state. The agreement keeps high stakes Common Core testing scores off of students' permanent records and transcripts. It also prohibits the use of the Common Core tests as the primary or sole factor in making promotion and placement decisions.
"The Assembly Majority maintains our commitment to New York's children by making the most significant investment in their education in more than five years. We recommended and secured a $1.12 billion increase in school aid that will benefit children in high needs schools. We remain true to our historic role as the champions of universal pre-K by delivering significant, recurring funding to expand high quality full-day early learning programs in every region of the state. And we hit the pause button on Common Core which will give us time to consider and address the concerns of students, parents and educators," said Silver. "These investments in our education system are a first step towards the long-term academic achievement each and every one of our children needs and deserves."
"Overall, this year's final budget is a smart spending plan that significantly increases support for, and access to, high-quality educational opportunities for our students in each and every grade," said Nolan. "It takes real, tangible steps toward restoring the Gap Elimination Adjustment, presses pause on implementation of the Common Core, protects student privacy and takes steps to eliminate trailers in New York City schools. Most importantly it puts our students first and supports New York's schools."
The agreement allocates a total of $22.3 billion in aid for local school districts for the 2014-15 School Year (SY). This is a 5.4 percent increase over SY 2013-14 and an increase of $552 million over the Executive proposal. The agreement restores $602 million in Gap Elimination Aid and is an increase in Foundation Aid of $251 million over the Executive proposal. This is the largest increase in education aid since 2008-09.
The spending plan will deliver $1.5 billion for the statewide expansion of full-day universal pre-kindergarten (UPK) over the next five years. As part of this investment, New York City will receive $600 million over the next two years to launch Mayor Bill de Blasio's full day UPK plan. The plan would also provide for a phase-in of teacher certification requirements.
Smart School Bond Act
The $2 billion Smart School Bond Act, which is expanded to include loans of educational technology hardware to non-public schools, will fund the construction of new classroom space for full day pre-kindergarten. It will fund investments in the replacement of trailers with permanent classroom space, the institution of high-tech safety improvements and the enhancement of education technology, including infrastructure improvements to establish high speed broadband in schools and upgrades in classroom technology. The budget also provides $5 million for private special education schools, schools for the blind and deaf, and special act school districts for the purchase of educational technology equipment and to expand connectivity.
The budget includes significant changes associated with the implementation of the Common Core curriculum. It includes a four and a half year delay on the documentation of Common Core high stakes test scores on the permanent records and transcripts of students in grades 3-8. It prohibits the use grades 3-8 English language arts and mathematics assessments scores from being the sole or primary factor in promotion and placement decisions.
It significantly limits the amount of classroom time dedicated to assessments and test preparation. It requires that the State Education Department (SED) provide tools, resources and materials to assist in Common Core professional development for teachers. It further requires school districts to provide an annual testing transparency report as well as outreach material for parents and the public regarding Common Core.
It establishes the position of chief privacy officer who is responsible for setting data sharing guidelines and procedures in the event of data breaches. The chief privacy officer will serve a three year term. The agreement also establishes the Parents' Bill of Rights related to student privacy protections. It also eliminates further data sharing with inBloom and requires SED to request that all student information already provided to inBloom be deleted. Further, the bill provides that school districts may opt-out of sharing private student information with similar entities such as inBloom and certain privately run data dashboards.
The budget also provides for a five-year phase in of after-school funding beginning in the 2015-16 school year. This funding may also be used for reducing the Gap Elimination Adjustment and increasing Foundation Aid.The budget includes additional funding for the following programs: