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Reporter's Notebook

January 26, 2013

Cuomo's budget could be worse, officials say

(Continued)

Cuomo has offered a creative proposal to help schools manage their pension costs while the savings from last year’s “Tier VI” legislation begins to materialize, Reidy said.

“We also applaud Gov. Cuomo’s proposal to allow school districts to gain relief from specific state mandates in special education, an area where New York’s requirements and costs exceed those of most other states.

“We need more details on how the $203 million Fiscal Stabilization Fund will be allocated,” he said.

***

In other school-related news, an interesting take on area efforts to bolster important skills in the job market has been offered in a media release from the Afterschool Alliance.

The study, “Defining Youth Outcomes for STEM Learning in Afterschool,” involved after-school providers and leaders in the field. It sought to identify such things as the aims and outcomes that after-school program leaders and supporters believe the field can contribute. The report includes recommendations for policymakers, so they can develop a realistic vision of what after-school programs can accomplish; for after-school program leaders, so they can set appropriate and measurable goals; and for researchers and evaluators, so they can design appropriate assessment tools.

“Education policymakers are rightly looking to after-school programs as a key player in the effort to build our future workforce’s STEM skills,” Anita Krishnamurthi, the Afterschool Alliance’s director of STEM policy said. “That conversation needs to reflect the best judgment of the after-school community, and that’s what we set out to capture. The bottom line from the study is that after-school programs can contribute in important ways that help students achieve in the STEM fields, by drawing them into STEM and helping them learn the foundational skills they need to succeed.”

MARK BOSHNACK can be reached at mboshnack@thedailystar.com.

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