Education Reform Commission holds public hearing in Albany
The New NY Education Reform Commission holds its first of ten public hearings. The meetings will be held all across the state and Tuesday, the taskforce came to Albany. Our Beth Croughan has more on what the commission is and what they hope to accomplish.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- David Albert was among the first group called to give testimony before the New NY Education Reform Commission.
"We think the system does need some reforms," said the Director of Communications and Research for the New York State School Boards Association.
The group of education, advocacy and business leaders was organized in April by Governor Andrew Cuomo and tasked with examining the state's public schools system.
"There are an awful lot of people, as you know, who have been thinking about this, working on this, studying this problem around the state for many years and we want to make sure that they all have an opportunity to share their wisdom with us," explained Commission Chair Richard Parsons.
Albert prepared remarks on behalf of the New York State School Boards Association.
"We want to look to see if we can strengthen community involvement in schools, we want to see if we can reform some laws that deal with the way that we hire employees," he said.
Albert suggested school boards be given flexibility when it comes to hiring school staff and added that schools be supplied with adequate and stable funding. Examining spending was outlined by Cuomo as an objective for the commission.
"I think there is general consensus that lower wealth school districts do need some extra support and we have to find ways to make sure that those school districts survive what has been a very punishing recession," he said.
The Cohoes City Schools Superintendent said he came Tuesday to offer perspective from a district where nearly 1,200 of their almost 2,000 students qualify for free and reduced lunch.
He said they've cut more than 20 percent of the workforce in the past three years and have eliminated or reduced home economics, technology and business classes.
"Well, I would like to think that they will hear what we in the field have to say and then put it in a black box and take it back to wherever it needs to go, whether it's the legislature or board of regents," said Superintendent Robert Libby.
The next commission hearing will be held next Wednesday in Western NY. The last one is scheduled for October.
For more information, visit www.governor.ny.gov/puttingstudentsfirst.