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Gov. Cuomo Establishes Education Reform Commission: Rebell to Press Funding and Equity Issues

Governor Cuomo Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order yesterday creating the New New York Education Reform Commission. The commission includes leaders from the state government, state and city universities, business, and nonprofit organizations. Michael A. Rebell, executive director of the Campaign for Educational Equity, will be one of the commissioners.

This new education panel is charged with recommending reforms to improve student performance so that all New York students are fully prepared to compete in the global economy.The commission will explore solutions to wide range of education policy issues, including: teacher recruitment and evaluation; the problems of high-need and low-wealth school communities; education funding, distribution, and costs; the structuring of the state’s more than 700 school districts; and parent and family engagement--issues that Governor Cuomo argues other government bodies have not fully addressed.

The commission is being asked to make recommendations about how to make education spending more efficient and reduce education expenses overall--a difficult task amidst years of education-related budget cuts. Commissioner Rebell stated that although he agrees that greater cost efficiency and cost effectiveness must be pursued, “the bottom line is that a series of budget cuts over the past three years have rendered the current state education finance system unconstitutional, and I think the commission has a paramount responsibility to ensure that the state is providing all students the opportunity for a sound basic education that the constitution requires--now, and not at some future date.”

The panel is expected to produce an “action plan” that the Governor and the Legislature can implement for the 2013 school year. The commission’s preliminary set of recommendations will be released by December 1, 2012. The Commission will meet multiple times and will gather information from across the state through various public hearings.

Former Citigroup and Time Warner executive Richard Parsons will chair New York Education Reform Commission. Below is the complete list of participants:

  • Richard (Dick) Parsons, Retired Chairman, Citigroup, Chair of the New NY Education Reform Commission
  • Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO
  • Geoffrey Canada, Founder & CEO, Harlem Children’s Zone
  • Irma Zardoya, President & CEO, NYC Leadership Academy
  • Elizabeth Dickey, President, Bank Street College of Education
  • Mary Anne Schmitt-Carey, President, Say Yes to Education
  • Lisa Belzberg, Founder & Chair Emeritus, PENCIL
  • Michael Rebell, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Campaign for Educational Equity
  • Karen Hawley Miles, President & Executive Director, Education Resource Strategies
  • José Luis Rodríguez, Founder & CEO, Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network, Inc.
  • Sara Mead, Associate Partner, Bellwether Education Partners
  • Eduardo Martí, Vice Chancellor of Community Colleges, CUNY
  • Thomas Kane, Professor of Education & Economics, Harvard Graduate School of Education
  • Jean Desravines, CEO, New Leaders for New Schools
  • Michael Horn, Executive Director & Co-Founder, InnoSight Institute
  • Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, Chancellor, SUNY
  • Chancellor Matthew Goldstein, Chancellor, CUNY
  • John B. King, Jr., Commissioner, New York State Education Department
  • Senator John Flanagan, Chair, Senate Education Committee
  • Assembly Member Cathy Nolan, Chair, Assembly Education Committee


Read more about the creation of the New York Education Reform Commission in SchoolBook, Gotham Schools, the Times Union, Harvard Graduate School of Education, NPR, and New York Now.

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