ALBANY, N.Y. – Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered his State of the State address in Albany Wednesday, and he discussed education in-depth.
Educators, including Executive Director of the NYS School Board Association Tim Kremer, believe the governor is moving in the right direction following the speech.
Cuomo addressed the idea of universal Pre-K to provide full-day pre-kindergarten to children in high needs communities.
The governor said he is willing to put forth a lot of money in support of the program, but educators said it needs to be fully funded by the state. Cuomo did not state what extent universal Pre-K would be funded.
Another proposal is to transform classrooms throughout the state starting with technology and a $2 billion bond referendum. Voters statewide would get to decide on the referendum. Cuomo asked voters to approve the idea so schools would be able to purchase laptops and tablets.
“That's a great investment of resources,” Kremer said. “It will be interesting to see if that passes.”
Cuomo also wants to encourage some of the best and brightest students in the state to plan on studying science, technology, engineering and math.
The STEM areas are seeing job growth, and the governor wants to provide full tuition scholarships to high school seniors graduating in the top 10 percent of their class to any state college or university. Scholarship recipients would be required to pursue a degree in the STEM fields, and they must work in the state for at least five years.
It was also proposed that teachers who are rated highly effective would be eligible for a bonus in pay. Participating schools districts would get up to $20,000 in annual extra compensation through a teacher excellence fund.
This idea has educators on board; however, the way the teachers may be evaluated has some educators concerned.
“There might not be objectivity in the actual selection out of those teachers,” Lynne Lenhardt, President of the NYS School Board Association said.
“We do have to have integrity in the evaluation process,” Kremer added.
The one education topic Cuomo did not discuss in his address was the implementation of the controversial Common Core standards after all the hearings that have taken place.
But overall, educators supported Cuomo's agenda, though they still want the research and money to back it up.