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September 17, 2018
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JP O'Hare

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Board of Regents Early Childhood Workgroup’s Blue Ribbon Committee Presents Final Recommendations

Recommendations Support Regents’ Vision of Transforming the Birth to Age Eight Early Care and Education System in the State of New York

Members of the Board of Regents Early Childhood Workgroup Blue Ribbon Committee today presented final recommendations to advance the overarching vision of transforming the birth to age eight early care and education system in New York State. The Committee’s recommendations aim to enhance the State’s existing programs and have three areas of focus: Comprehensive Services for Children and Families, Strengthening the Early Childhood Workforce, and Statewide Supports and Infrastructure.

“The Board of Regents is engaged in an ambitious effort to find a pathway to better align the State’s fragmented early care, preschool and early childhood education policies to benefit children,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. “These recommendations are the first step in achieving the goal of giving all New York’s children the tools and opportunities for lifelong academic and social emotional success.”

“We are working to transform the system so that our youngest students and their families receive the necessary services and opportunities at the earliest stages of life,” State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said. “The policies set forth by the Blue Ribbon Committee define the development of a clear, coherent and comprehensive strategy to ensure that all of New York State’s children have equal opportunities from birth so they can succeed throughout school and life. A large part of that strategy will be our work to strengthen collaboration across state agencies to form partnerships to better serve New York’s children.”

“When we provide comprehensive services for children and families, and strengthen supports for the early childhood workforce, we see the benefits throughout a child’s life,” Workgroup Co-Chair Regent Lester W. Young said. “The Blue Ribbon Committee’s recommendations will enhance the State’s existing programs and will require the complete cooperation of State policy makers, education, health and human services agencies and programs to successfully transform the early care and education system in New York State.”

“The reason for this effort is simple—research shows that children who receive high-quality early care and education are better prepared for kindergarten and are less likely to repeat a grade or drop out of school later,” Workgroup Co-Chair Luis O. Reyes said. “These initiatives will help our youngest learners get a healthy start in education, which they need to stay on the path to success later in life.”

Throughout the Blue Ribbon Committee’s deliberations and resulting recommendations, there were three distinct areas of focus: a) Comprehensive Services for Children and Families b) Strengthening the Early Childhood Education Workforce and c) Statewide Supports and Infrastructure. These overarching themes are equally important and unequivocally linked; comprehensive services for children and families required to improve and align early care and education is dependent upon a well prepared, multifaceted workforce and collaborative, sustainable statewide supports and resources.  

The following recommendations reflect consensus by the Blue Ribbon Committee members and are supported by the New York State Education Department (NYSED).

Comprehensive Services for Children and Families

  • Fund Prekindergarten Expansion
  • Promote Blended Learning
  • Cultivate Local Community and Family Engagement
  • Implement a Multi-Agency Comprehensive Developmental Screening Process
  • Support Emergent Multilingual Learners
  • Develop Statewide Behavior Management Practices
  • Require Full-day Kindergarten

Strengthening the Early Childhood Workforce

  • Elevate Teacher Preparation and Professional Development
  • Develop Career Pathways for Childhood Educators
  • Recruit a High Quality Workforce
  • Strengthen Teacher and Leader Preparation
  • Develop Concentrations in Early Childhood Teacher Certification
  • Revise School Leader Certification Requirements

Statewide Supports and Infrastructure

  • Conduct a Cost Validation Study
  • Establish Early Learning Technical Assistance Centers
  • Fund Expansion of QUALITYstarsNY
  • Create Multi-Agency Data System
  • Address Prekindergarten Transportation

All of the Committee’s recommendations were informed by the research of Blue Ribbon Committee members and public feedback and are in consideration of culture, race, ethnicity, language, citizenship status and socioeconomic status. The implementation of recommendations is part of a five-year, phased-in approach to support and advance policies that will prioritize children with greatest need and require a coordinated effort with other State agencies and initiatives.


The Board of Regents established the Early Childhood Blue Ribbon Committee to provide advice to the Board of Regents’ Early Childhood Workgroup. The Committee included more than 65 national and state experts and was charged with developing recommendations to amend and address New York State education policy as it relates to early childhood education. The Committee did this by leveraging the expertise of its members and by traveling around the state to receive feedback from stakeholders representing: researchers, practitioners, policy makers, elected officials, teachers, school administrators and parents.

The Blue Ribbon Committee met three times between September and November 2017 in New York City, Rochester and Dobbs Ferry. Committee members met with their topic area groups, discussed issues and solutions, and turned these discussions into recommendations for the Board’s consideration. In addition, the Committee invited local experts to attend the meeting in their respective regions to provide a local perspective and contribute to the work of the Blue Ribbon Committee. In June 2018, the Committee reconvened in New York City to finalize recommendations and develop effective strategies to implement and sustain the transformation of early care and education in New York State. 


Upon approval of the Blue Ribbon Committee recommendations by the Board of Regents, the Board and NYSED staff will continue to work in the coming months to advance the set of recommendations that specifically fall in the areas of education policy and legislative priorities for 2019. NYSED staff will also work in coordination with other state agencies including the Department of Health, New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), New York State Office of Mental Health, among others, to maximize our cross-sector work. 

The Early Childhood Workgroup’s Blue Ribbon Committee's report can be found on the Board of Regents website.

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