Niagara Gazette

Local News

January 11, 2013

Governor's education proposals draw support, concern


Niagara Gazette — Albion Superintendent Michael Bonnewell and others said even applying for grants presented challenges.

"Just to do the application requires you to redirect resources that you would have used otherwise," he said, "and without a guarantee that you're going to receive the competitive award."

Richard Longhurst, executive administrator of the New York State PTA, said New York still must address the larger issue of how it distributes state aid.

"There's a place for competitive grants," he said, "but until schools are able to provide a basic education, that has to be the higher priority."

Cuomo also proposed creating an entrance exam for new teachers like the bar exams taken by lawyers, and paying "master teachers" $15,000 bonuses for four years to improve and train other teachers.

"The retention statistics of new teachers, even nationally, is almost startling, so the notion of investing in teacher preparation is very, very wise," said Webster Thomas High School Teacher Greg Ahlquist, who was named the state's teacher of the year in October.

The proposals, including one to create "community schools" that consolidate health and other supports under one roof, were among recommendations the New York Education Reform Commission delivered to Cuomo a week earlier.

"All of the proposals he's putting forward are right on target," Albert said. "The question is just, will the funding be there?"

Big Red Number 25 Gov. Cuomo proposed extending learning time by at least 25 percent with longer school days or years.

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