NYS Education Policy

Who is responsible for education in NYS?

  • New York State Governor, chief executive of New York State
    –governor and the New York State Legislature are responsible for enacting laws, including education law, and the state’s budget, that provides funding to all public schools.
  • The New York State Education Department (NYSED)— responsible for the supervision of all public schools in the state including The University of the State of New York
  • The New York State Board of Regents (the Regents) –responsible for the general supervision of all educational activities within the state
    –presides over the University of the State of New York and the SED
    –Regents’ regulations carry the same impact as laws enacted by the state legislature for public schools
    –Speaker of the New York State Assembly oversees the appointment of the Regents

How do laws get passed in NYS?

  • The Governor is the head of the executive branch of New York’s state government
  • The legislature is the lawmaking branch of state government. It is a two-house body composed of the Senate and the Assembly
  • Lieutenant Governor is the Senate’s President
  • Assembly is presided over by the Speaker, who is elected from and by the Assembly membership for a two-year term. http://www.nysenate.gov/branches-government


No law may be enacted in New York State unless it has been adopted by the Legislature in bill form. The idea for a bill is submitted to Bill Drafting Commission where it is translated into formal language. Then the bill is introduced, assigned the number it will be known by and printed.



Most bills go through committees for evaluation before they are formally introduced on the floor for general discussion and put to a vote.



Bills in the Senate or Assembly on the same topic may still require discussion or debate and often compromise before they can become a law.  This is when certain amendments might be attached to the original bill.



After explanation, discussion or debate, a vote is taken. If the bill originates in and passes through the New York State Assembly, it is then sent on to the New York State Senate, where it goes through a similar process. Conversely, if a bill originates in and passes through the New York State Senate, it is then sent on to the New York State Assembly. If both houses agree to pass a bill, it is then sent to the Governor for his signature. However, if it is changed, it is returned to the original chamber for agreement to the amendments.



While the Legislature is in session, the Governor has 10 days (not counting Sundays) to sign or veto bills passed by both houses  
The Governor’s failure to sign or veto a bill within the 10-day period means that it becomes law automatically 3 o Vetoed bills are returned to the house that first passed them, together with a statement of the reason for their disapproval      
If a bill is sent to the Governor when the Legislature is out of session, the rules are different o The Governor has 30 days in which to make a decision, and failure to act (“pocket veto”) has the same effect as a veto
Often it will take many years and several reintroductions before a bill is passed.



A bill does not have to be introduced in both houses before it can become law. According to the State Constitution, a bill cannot become law “except by the assent of a majority of the members elected to each branch of the Legislature.“ A bill vetoed by the Governor cannot become law without two-thirds of the members elected to each house. The Legislature does not prepare the State Budget o The Governor must present it to the Legislature annually in the middle of January

Notable Legislation


  • Governor Cuomo linked budgetary state-aid assistance for education to passage of his proposed education reforms
  • imposes vast education policy changes, many of which are directly adopted from Governor Cuomo’s Twenty-Two Takeaways of his original Education Opportunity Agenda.
  • enacted into law as part of the state budget, amended the Education Law to institute new requirements including how to discipline tenured teachers, and the Annual Professional Performance Reviews (APPR) of teachers and principals.
  • the act also provided for the takeover and restructuring of struggling and persistently struggling schools through a new school receivership law.


The current teacher evaluation law dates back to 2015 when Gov. Andrew Cuomo backed a plan in which state test scores could count for as much as half of an educator’s evaluation. Though the law technically remains on the books, the state’s Board of Regents passed a moratorium on the use of grades 3-8 math and English test scores in teacher evaluations. Without further action, the moratorium will expire in 2019.


A new bill was introduced and passed by both the State Assembly and the State Senate:
–When the moratorium expires in 2019, districts will no longer be FORCED to use the NYS 3-8 assessments for APPR.  
–The wording states that districts will not be required, to use the assessments. BUT, districts MUST USE SOMETHING (from an approved list by NYS), a test/average of tests to satisfy the 50%  of the teacher evaluation score.  
–The NYS Assessments grades 3-8 will still be REQUIRED since this is part of ESSA federal accountability.

  • State Ed is in complete control of providing the approved list from which districts must select assessments (many on the list will be Pearson or Questar assessments, among others), or get State Ed permission for an alternative assessment.
  • Whatever assessment is used will still be weighted 50% or greater, with the other component being teacher observation.
  • Schools are still required to administer the grades 3-8 tests due to ESSA.


The receivership law was approved in April 2015 as part of the 2015-16 state budget agreement. A school defined as “struggling” or “persistently struggling,” (see below) must be placed in “receivership” under management by a district superintendent, chancellor (NYC) or an educational partnership organization (EPO) until the schools can show ongoing “demonstrable improvement.” If the school does not show demonstrable improvement after a certain amount of time, it may be placed under Independent Receivership for up to three years, which would allow it to be taken over by

  • A non-profit entity, (such as a charter school)
  • An individual, or
  • Another school district in good standing