Dear Colleagues,
Betty A. Rosa
The New York State Education Department (NYSED) has undergone several transitions and challenges in the past year and a half, which have allowed me to work more closely with the tremendous staff here at the Department. In this time, we have come together with the Board of Regents to face these challenges head-on. This week, I was honored to be appointed as permanent Commissioner of Education and President of the University of the State of New York. I am excited to be able to continue our important work to benefit New York’s children and adults. Now more than ever, we must address the equity gaps our state faces, and I am eager to partner with the Board and the education community to further these efforts.
We are also working through some transitions on the Board of Regents. As I mentioned last month, Dr. Lester W. Young, Jr. was elected as Chancellor of the Board of Regents, and I look forward to our partnership. Vice Chancellor T. Andrew Brown will step down from the Board of Regents, on which he has served for nearly nine years in total and as Vice Chancellor for the past five years. Chancellor Young and I are grateful to Vice Chancellor Brown for his dedicated service to New York’s students and adults, and we wish him well.
Below, you can find details on other announcements and resources from NYSED:
  • NYSED Submits Federal Waivers for State Assessment and Accountability Requirements to U.S. Department of Education
  • Commemorating Black History Month
  • Education Department Now Accepting Applications for 2021 Summer Food Service Program Sites
  • Commissioner’s Education Budget Testimony
  • Statement From Chancellor Young, the Board of Regents, and Commissioner Rosa on Executive Budget Proposal
  • State Finalists Selected for 2020 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching
Sincerely,
Betty A. Rosa
Commissioner
NYSED Submits Federal Waivers for State Assessment and Accountability Requirements to U.S. Department of Education
NYSED has submitted two federal waiver requests related to state assessment and accountability requirements. The waivers would allow the state to forego testing in 2020-21. These waiver requests address the unique circumstances caused by the ongoing pandemic that have resulted in many students receiving some or all of their instruction remotely. The full text of the submitted waiver requests is posted on NYSED’s ESSA webpage.
Last month, NYSED made the draft waiver requests available for public comment. The public was invited to share its opinion in two ways: either by submitting formal written comments to the Department via email or by completing a short, four question survey. Both the public comments and the survey results overwhelmingly support the Department’s submission of both waiver requests.
By law, the Secretary of Education has 120 days to act upon the requests, but the Department is hopeful for an expedited response as the USDE is aware of the time sensitive nature of these requests, which is similar to those being made by a number of other states. If the waivers are approved by the USDE, the Department will propose to the Board of Regents that it adopt such amendments to Commissioner’s Regulations to implement the waivers.
Commemorating Black History Month
Black History Month - Racial Disparities in Medicine and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care
Every February, the nation celebrates Black History Month by recognizing the innumerable contributions that African Americans have made to our country. This week, the Board of Regents and NYSED commemorated Black History Month at the February 2021 Regents meeting, including through reflections by members of the Board. In addition, a panel of national experts presented on Racial Disparities in Medicine and Ethnic Disparities in Health. The panel discussion was followed by a Regents discussion regarding an action plan focusing on the twin goals of providing equitable care for all and encouraging more young people of color to pursue careers in medicine. The meeting was streamed live and is available to be viewed on the Board of Regents website.
Black History Month artifacts from NYS Museum
To further commemorate Black History Month, the New York State Museum is providing virtual tours of some of the African American-related artifacts in the History collections via Facebook live, recordings of which will then be posted on the Museum’s website.
Additionally, the Museum offers an easy-to-use resource page for students, educators, and the public, which includes research, access to digital collections, virtual lessons, and activities for the classroom. The Museum will also use its social media platforms to promote the Emancipation Proclamation and 15th Amendment work that was done last year, and staff is working to develop a partnership webinar series with the Shirly A. Chisholm Center for Equity Studies about Black history and current events which will kick off this month.
The State Museum’s Office of State History is also compiling a listing of Black History Month events taking place at cultural education organizations across New York State. The website will be updated often to keep the public informed of these events.
#MyHistoryMyFuture - Chancellor Young
As in years past, NYSED and The Education Trust-New York are highlighting New York State My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) students throughout the month on social media (FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn). The #MyHistoryMyFuture campaign features inspiring quotes from outstanding students who are sharing how MBK has positively changed their lives and what their hopes and dreams are for the future. To introduce the campaign, read Board of Regents Chancellor Young’s reflections on Black History Month and the New York State MBK initiative.
Education Department Now Accepting Applications for
2021 Summer Food Service Program Sites
children eating outside
NYSED is accepting applications for the 2021 Summer Food Service Program. Eligible programs include public and nonpublic nonprofit school food authorities; local, county, municipal, and state governmental entities; Indian tribal territories, migrant programs; nonprofit agencies; faith-based organizations and camps interested in providing healthy meals to children this summer.
Commissioner’s Education Budget Testimony
Education Budget Testimony
Commissioner Rosa recently testified at the joint legislative budget hearing on elementary and secondary education and at the joint legislative budget hearing on higher education.
The Commissioner’s budget presentations are available here:
Statement From Chancellor Young, the Board of Regents, and Commissioner Rosa on Executive Budget Proposal
Last month, Governor Cuomo advanced the 2022 Executive Budget proposal. While understanding the current fiscal realities our state is facing, we cannot balance the state budget on the backs of our students by forcing school districts to use federal funding to fill the holes left in their budgets by a decrease in State Aid. As we laid out in our Budget and Legislative Priorities, we are profoundly opposed to federal funds being used to replace state dollars to support our schools.
It is vital that the Biden administration and our Congressional delegation provide fiscal relief to help school districts meet the myriad of challenges which have led to enormous additional costs for school districts.
We are committed to ensuring that all young people in New York State have access to a high-quality education, and we will continue to advocate for the funding that is necessary for our schools to help young people succeed and thrive. Read the entire statement from Chancellor Young, the Board of Regents, and Commissioner Rosa on the Governor’s Executive Budget proposal.
State Finalists Selected for 2020 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching
Congratulations to the PAEMST finalists
Two New York State mathematics teachers are state-level finalists for the 2020 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) at the elementary level, grades K-6. The PAEMST, one of the most prestigious honors in the nation for teachers, recognizes exemplary teaching and leadership in science and mathematics education. Congratulations to the finalists!