Educators and Advocates Call for High Academic Standards, Equitably Implemented for All New York Students

by | Nov 14, 2016 | Press Release

As Public Comment Period Ends, The Education TrustNew York, Educators for Excellence, New York Educator Voice Fellowship and High Achievement New York Urge State Education Leaders to Maintain High Standards and Deliver the Tools and Support Educators Need

Albany—To reach their full potential, all New York State students—especially those who are starting furthest behind—need to be taught to high academic standards and their teachers need the tools and resources to get them there, according to a new policy brief released today by The Education Trust–New York, Educators for Excellence, New York Educator Voice Fellowship and High Achievement New York, and with input from educators around the state.

The brief, Our Eyes on the Horizon: How Strong Standards, Implemented Equitably, Can Help All New York Students, outlines key recommendations to the Board of Regents and State Education Department as they consider revisions to the state academic standards. The groups argue that their recommendations, if implemented correctly, could improve opportunity for students and achieve greater equity in New York’s schools. The recommendations include:

  • Maintain high standards. High academic standards are crucial to ensuring that all New York students are prepared for postsecondary success. The national nonprofit Achieve Inc. reviewed the draft standards released by the SED and found many strengths as well as specific areas that need greater direction and clarity (details of Achieve’s independent analysis are available in the brief).
  • Update and enhance curricular resources. For educators to effectively deliver and integrate new standards in their classrooms, they must be able to access high-quality materials that help them see standards in action, download and modify sample lessons, and ensure student assignments align with standards.
  • Provide high-quality professional development across the state. New York should bring existing professional development programs to scale by building stronger relationships with external partners. At the same time, the state should ensure these regional programs are high quality, consistent, and centered on real student work.
  • Close opportunity and achievement gaps for all students. Successfully implementing high standards is an opportunity for New York to remedy longstanding opportunity and achievement gaps for low-income students, students of color, students with disabilities and English language learners. Through increased tools and support for these student groups and improved engagement, New York can raise achievement for all students.

“We know that all students can achieve at high levels when they are taught at high levels,” said Ian Rosenblum, Executive Director of The Education TrustNew York. “Academic standards are the foundation of our education system, and the state must use this opportunity to ensure the rigor of its academic standards and—just as importantly—ensure that the standards lead to improvements in teaching and learning that will prepare all students for success.”

“Teachers are seeing the positive impact of their hard work to implement higher standards in their classes and schools,” said Maryanne Kiley, Executive Director of Educators for Excellence-New York. “As New York updates the standards, it is crucial that we maintain rigor for all students and give our teachers and school leaders the support they need to implement the new standards for all students.”

“Teachers and school leaders across the state are committed to high expectations for all students,” said Mary Conroy Almada, Program Manager of the New York Educator Voice Fellowship. “To ensure our students are receiving the quality education they deserve, the state must also support and enable teachers to effectively integrate the new standards through providing necessary tools and resources.”

“We can put a New York stamp on New York standards, but we must have strong standards,” said Stephen Sigmund, Executive Director of High Achievement New York. “Simply put, New York can’t go backwards on the quality and expectations in our standards if we truly want all students, no matter where they are from, to have an equal shot.”

The full policy brief is available here.


About The Education Trust–New York:
The Education Trust–New York works to eliminate the gaps in equity, opportunity, and achievement that hold back too many students from reaching their full potential, especially those who are low-income or students of color, in order to enable all students in New York state to achieve at high levels — from early childhood through college.  Learn more at