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NY Education Reform Commission Issues Final Report

The Associated Press

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A commission appointed to find ways to improve public education in New York has recommended expanding pre-kindergarten, upgrading classroom technology and rewarding top teachers.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who appointed the New NY Education Reform Commission in 2012, released the panel's final report Tuesday, a week after endorsing several of its recommendations during his 2014 State of the State address.

"These are some of the essential steps that we must take to provide New York's children with the education they deserve," Cuomo said in a statement, "and I look forward to implementing them in the future."

The 25-member commission was chaired by Richard Parsons, senior adviser at Providence Equity Partners, and included educators, business people, lawmakers and reform advocates. The group, after holding hearings around the state, issued preliminary findings a year ago and has since consulted additional experts and broadened its scope, Parsons said.

"Every year $75 billion is spent on education in New York state, which is more than the total budgets of 47 states," Parsons said. "We clearly can do a better job in terms of how we use these resources to educate our kids."

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Recommendations also include providing more college scholarships in high-needs science and math fields, promoting paid internships and reducing obstacles to school district mergers.

In organizing the commission in April 2012, Cuomo noted that New York spends more money per student than any other state but lags behind most states in high school graduation rates.

The report came out the same day hundreds of students calling for more school funding crowded into the second floor of the state Capitol in Albany near the governor's office. Students from around the state carrying signs with such messages as "Where's My Education, Cuomo?" listened to a series of speakers arguing for more school aid.

"We have books, but we don't have enough books," said high school senior Franklin Lewis of Buffalo as he listened to speakers. "Sometimes we have to share."

___

Associated Press Writer Michael Hill contributed from Albany.

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