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State school superintendents request expansion of BOCES career and tech education

Expanding BOCES career and technical education to the ninth and 10th grade levels and Increase the maximum number of credits that students can earn through CTE programs are two recommendations being made by a group of New York State school superintendents.
In a white paper released in March, the New York State Council of School Superintendents asked the state Board of Regents to make regulations more flexible to give school districts “a fighting chance” to implement the education reform agenda urged by the Regents.
Among the proposal advanced by NYSCOSS is a request to expand the role of BOCES in developing career-ready students.
The NYSCOSS’ Executive Committee has asked the Regents to:
1) Allow the option of CTE to begin at BOCES in the ninth grade.
2) Give students the option to attend BOCES for all four years of high school, immersed in a true career and technical education curriculum.
3) Increase the maximum number of credits that students can earn through CTE programs.
4) Substitute the successful completion of a CTE technical assessment for one of the five Regents examinations (excluding substitution for Algebra and ELA).
5) Give BOCES the authority to confer diplomas with the joint approval of the local district superintendent and the district superintendent.
NYSCOSS Executive Director Robert Reidy said the urgently needed regulatory relief is within the authority of the Board of Regents.
“The Board of Regents is asking school districts to make significant system changes to accommodate the Regent’s reform effort. We need substantial systems reform at the state level… to provide districts with the flexibility to redirect resources to better serve the instructional needs of children,” Reidy explained in a letter to the Regents introducing the white paper.
The document includes conclusions from the National Educational Longitudinal Study and research by the California Center for College and Career that “students learned faster and retained concepts better when taught rigorous and relevant academic material in a context of real world application.”
The studies also reveal that CTE students tend to have higher graduation rates and significantly lower dropout rates than their non-CTE peers. The studies also show that students who combined an integrated CTE curriculum with work-based learning ended up earning higher wages than students who did not participate in CTE.
NYSCOSS points out that “far too many students who are not college ready, but could be college ready, simply cannot wait until 11th grade to attend BOCES.”
The NYSCOSS document points out that the educational landscape has changed with implementation of the property tax levy cap, further restricting resources for schools. Without regulatory relief by the Board of Regents, NYSCOSS leaders assert, districts lack the flexibility to change the system and meet the reform expectations of the Regents.
Other proposals in the white paper asked the Regents to “align the rules and regulations with the spirit and intent of New York State’s reforms, giving schools the ability to utilize resources such as time differently and creatively to implement the reform requirements.”
Proposed solutions include abolishing seat-time minimums that would allow students to demonstrate competence in various ways, encouraging an “integrated instructional approach” to Common Core curriculum, allowing students to earn credit in multiple content areas at the same time, revisions in teacher certification and professional development days, and district accountability standards.
“The Regents’ Reform Agenda requires districts to challenge and change the design and delivery of education,” NYSCOSS executives wrote. “It is now, more than any other time in the near past, that we need to be creative and adaptive in response to the challenges before us. School districts cannot carry out this mission without a joint effort from all stakeholders at all levels.”