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June 22, 2017
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JP O'Hare

(518) 474-1201



Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa and State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia Statement on End of Session Legislative Actions

While legislative leaders acted on bills that will benefit New York’s school-age and college students, and will help ensure the safety and well-being of all New Yorkers, we are disappointed the parties have not yet reached agreement on education for the more than one million students who attend New York City’s public schools. A resolution on this important issue must be found before school starts this fall to provide certainty for New York City’s schoolchildren.

Both Houses have passed important legislation, sponsored by Assemblywoman Nolan and Senator LaValle, that will enable colleges and universities to help meet the technology needs of students who are blind, deaf, deaf-blind or hard of hearing. Under legislation sponsored by Senator LaValle and Assemblymember Nolan, the Reader’s Aid Program will be expanded to integrate the changing technology needs of today’s students. Participating schools will now be better equipped to meet the soaring costs of support services, including interpreter services, for their eligible students. We thank Senator LaValle and Assemblymember Nolan for advancing this legislation. 

Both Houses also passed legislation that will enable the Education Department to continue to serve as a national institutional accrediting agency. Accreditation is a time and resource intensive process for the accrediting agency – yet the Department does not have dedicated staff and resources for this critically important purpose. Enactment of this appropriation, sponsored by Senator LaValle and Assemblymember Glick, will allow the Department to continue to offer this service to colleges and universities in New York, many of whom are small yet and highly specialized and could face difficulties being accredited by other bodies. We thank Senator LaValle and Assemblymember Glick for advancing this legislation.

More than 1,500 museums, historical societies, zoos, botanical gardens, aquariums, and cultural arts institutions provide instruction to over six million New York State children every year. But these cultural institutions receive no direct state support to initiate, expand or enhance the educational services they provide. We are grateful to Senator Little and Assemblymember Titone for sponsoring the Museum Education Act, which passed in the Senate, that would establish competitive grants to support cultural institutions that seek to establish or improve museum education programs designed to support student learning opportunities. Students living in low-income communities – whether in urban, suburban or rural settings – should all have equal access to the types of learning provided by cultural institutions. Enactment of the Museum Education Act will help make that possible. 

To help ensure public protection in New York, the State Education Department investigates and prosecutes professional misconduct in all 54 licensed professions (all except medicine). But the Department currently faces statutory limitations and lacks the tools needed to modernize our authority over the licensed professions we oversee. We are grateful to Senator LaValle and his Senate colleagues for advancing legislation that would enhance the Department’s disciplinary authority. We hope the Assembly will act on this important legislation next session, helping to ensure NYSED can take quick action against licensed professionals who pose an imminent public health or safety risk to New Yorkers.

We thank Speaker Heastie and Majority Leader Flanagan for advancing these significant initiatives to better serve New York’s children and adults.