State News Roundup
New York State Commissioner of Education Thomas Sobol has proposed doubling the number of students who master three years of high-school mathematics as one of 12 strategic objectives for the year 2000 designed to raise academic expectations in the Empire State.
The objectives, part of the commissioner's revised plan for school reform called the "New Compact for Learning," were pre6sented to the state board of regents last week following a series of regional hearings.
Based on the principles that all students can learn, that results count, and that students should seek to master a subject or skill, the objectives also call for doubling the number of students who master three years of high-school science and requiring all students to know a language other than English at a high-school level of competence.
Other objectives include: providing prekindergarten programs for all 4-year-olds living in poverty; ensuring that all 8-year-olds are reasonably proficient in English; ensuring that at least 90 percent of young people earn a high-school diploma by age 21; and bringing state test scores up to comparable levels for male and female students of all backgrounds.
To reach these objectives, Mr. Sobol proposed establishing advisory committees on outcomes, standards, and assessment. He also has called for the development of mechanisms to determine whether districts have adequate resources to meet the goals.
The regents are expected to vote on at least some of the objectives this month.
Some educators have questioned whether Mr. Sobol's goals are realistic in light of the state's $6-billion budget shortfall.