As a member of the Senate Education committee, Senator Joe Robach recently supported Education reform legislation sponsored by Senate Education Chairman John Flanagan. The bills that comprise the education reform legislation were drafted after review of concerns that were raised during the recently held statewide public hearings entitled “The Regents Reform Agenda: Assessing Our Progress.”
“I’m always eager to join my colleagues in government when it comes to looking at ways we can improve our education system and student performance,” said Robach about his support for education reforms. “Whether it’s looking at ways we can put technology into the hands of students, or providing our teachers with better resources, getting the most out of our education system is always the main goal.”
Joe Robach was pleased to support the four pieces of education legislation that were approved out of committee including:
- P-2 Bill, which would ban standardized testing on students in Pre-K through 2nd grade;
- “Unnecessary Testing” Bill, which would require the Commissioner of Education to conduct an expedited review of a school district’s APPR plan when it is submitted solely to eliminate unnecessary student assessments;
- Privacy Bill, which would strengthen protections of personal information stored on the statewide data portal; and
- “Truth-in-Testing” Bill, which would require the Commissioner of Education to report the effectiveness of common core tests and require an independent audit to review and evaluate the common core testing program.
Common Core Learning Standards were adopted by the New York Board of Regents in 2010. During the 2012-2013 academic year, the State Education Department began aligning curriculum and assessments to the new learning standards. The implementation has been admittedly flawed and has been the subject of controversy for school administrators, teachers and parents alike. This backlash has resulted in the Senate Education Committee’s reform proposal, supported by Senator Joe Robach.
At his annual New York State Budget unveiling earlier this week, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he is establishing a new Student Protection Unit within the State’s Department of Financial Services. Senator Joe Robach was on-hand for the budget address, and applauds the Governor’s action of supporting education by protecting students.
“A college education is so important in today’s society and business world. With a college degree, you can obtain a good paying job and set yourself up for a bright career and future,” said Robach. “If we’re going to continue to encourage young people to attend college, we need to do all we can to help protect them from any undue burden that could come about from high fees on student loans.”
As a strong supporter of higher education and continuing education, Joe Robach is pleased that Governor Cuomo has created task force to investigate student debt relief companies, many of which are charging borrowers a fee for services that they could receive for free from the U.S. Department of Education. Some companies may also offer debt relief services for private student loans, charging inappropriate fees and misrepresenting their ability to obtain the results they say they can achieve.
To date, the Student Protection Unit issued subpoenas for thirteen student debt relief companies for documents ranging from advertisements, contracts and fee schedules. The Student Protection Unit has issued a consumer alert on the Department of Financial Service’s website at www.dfs.ny.gov. You may also file a complaint about a student debt relief company or other potential abuses by contacting the Department of Financial Services Consumer Hotline at (212) 480-6400 or (800) 342-3736.
“If we truly want our young residents to continue their education in college, we must do everything we can to encourage that and protect them from future financial ramifications,” said Joe Robach in support of encouraging continued education and the creation of the Student Protection Unit.
Senator Joe Robach supports education and higher education, which is why he is pleased to join Governor Andrew Cuomo in recognizing January 2014 as Student Financial Aid Awareness Month. Joe Robach urges college students, and soon-to-be college students, to educate themselves on the importance of financial aid and all the different financial aid opportunities available to them.
“A college education is so important in today’s society and business world. With a college degree, you can obtain a good paying job and set yourself up for a bright career and future,” said Joe Robach. “Unfortunately, the cost of college can often inhibit or deter students from pursuing a degree. There are a multitude of financial aid options available for students, all of which I encourage them to explore.”
Senator Joe Robach supports higher education, whether it’s through obtaining an Associate’s, Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree, or even an advanced certification in a specialized field of study. Joe Robach suggests that interested students and parents should log on to StartHereGetThere.org to find more information and to see complete financial aid packages that are available.
“As hard working families struggle to afford higher education, this financial aid can go a long way in allowing a student to further their education,” said Senator Robach. “For our high school graduates, every little bit will help them afford their dream of getting a degree.”