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.”
In support of Veterans Day and education, Senator Joe Robach was pleased to team with Time Warner Cable, the History Channel and the Brighton Central School District to bring Take a Vet to School Day to Brighton High School. This nationwide program gives students of all ages the chance to hear stories of service and sacrifice from area veterans.
Joe Robach supported this educational program that gave students firsthand learning experiences and lessons in American history. This year, nine veterans volunteered their entire day to share their stories with several history classes at Brighton High School. Each veteran had the opportunity to tell the students what serving our nation has meant to him and the valuable lessons they learned in sacrifice. Following the introductions, students were given the opportunity to ask the veterans about their personal experiences, what war was like or why they gave up years of their youth to defend our nation.
“I’m so honored to have the opportunity to host this special event, along with Time Warner Cable and the History Channel,” said Senator Joe Robach. “I truly hope the students of Brighton High School know how fortunate they are to have had this opportunity to learn from our veterans, and most importantly, hear about the sacrifices they’ve made so we can enjoy all the freedoms we take for granted on a daily basis.”
Joe Robach looks forward to continuing to support various educational programs, like Take a Vet to School Day, in hopes of enhancing the classroom experience for students throughout the community.
Senator Joe Robach has always supported education in any way possible. In 2013, Senator Robach was able to secure funding for libraries in the City of Rochester and the Towns of Brighton, Gates, Greece, Hamlin and Parma. The funding was used towards the purchase and upgrade of computers and new technology at the library facilities.
“Education really goes beyond just the classroom. Not only are libraries a safe haven for communities, they are also a place children can go for access to technology and things like computers and the internet. Libraries also offer fun and exciting programs for students that can help make literacy and learning more fun,” said Joe Robach.
As a sign of appreciation for his support and advocacy of education and area libraries, the Rochester Regional Library Council recently presented Joe Robach with a certificate at its annual legislative breakfast. “I’m truly humbled by this recognition from the Rochester Regional Library Council,” said Robach. “The fact of the matter is, I don’t support libraries for recognition, I support libraries because they improve our communities and our schools.”
In addition to securing funding for area libraries, Joe Robach has supported education recently through his dictionary distribution project at elementary schools, and has talked to local high school students about the importance of government and activism in the community. Joe Robach believes that by supporting education and our students, we can better our community.
Senator Joe Robach has been pleased to once again support literacy education in the Greece and Hilton School Districts through his dictionary distribution project. Joe has partnered with the Greece and Hilton Rotary Clubs for several years on this fun and educational program for third grade students.
“It’s essential that we teach our children the importance of literacy education at an early age so they can carry it on throughout their time in school,” said Joe Robach. “This program makes it fun and exciting for the students, and gives them their own dictionary that they can keep forever.”
Joining Senator Joe Robach were members of the Greece and Hilton Rotary Clubs, who helped to coordinate the project with each school district. These dictionaries have a vast amount of information, not just word definitions – from galaxies and planets, to states and continents and much, much more!
Joe Robach believes we can improve the classroom experience for students by giving them the tools to make learning fun and exciting. Third grade students at the following schools all received dictionaries from this program:
Greece Schools – Buckman Heights Elementary School, Craig Hill Elementary School, Discovery Charter School, Lakeshore Elementary School, Paddy Hill Elementary School and Pine Brook Elementary School.
Hilton Schools – Northwood Elementary School, Quest Elementary School and Village Elementary School.
Senator Joe Robach was pleased to join students and facility members from MCC on National Voter Registration day to support their voter registration drive. Joe Robach educated students on the importance of registering to vote, as well as voting in elections every year.
This grassroots effort was conducted by staff members of the MCC Democracy Commitment program and members of the MCC Student Senate. The idea behind the voter registration drive was to encourage voter participation and registration, issues Senator Joe Robach feels strongly about and takes every opportunity possible to educate people of their importance.
“The United States of America was founded upon voter registration and all citizens having an equal voice in their government; that’s something I believe very strongly in as an Elected Official,” said Senator Joe Robach. “As an Elected Official, it is part of my job to educate the public about voter registration and encourage voter participation.”
Joe Robach was pleased to see so many young college students eager to learn about government and the importance of voter registration during his visit to the MCC campus. Joe Robach believes that fighting for education is not just through advocacy and financial support, but also through empowering people and encouraging them to vote in all elections – federal, state and local elections, as well as school budget and school board elections.
This week, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that a $6.7 million in federal College Access Challenge Grants has been awarded to New York State. This grant money will increase college enrollment and completion among low-income students across New York.
As a member of the Senate Education Committee, Senator Joe Robach was pleased to see New York State awarded this grant to support education for those who might not otherwise be able to afford it.
“I have always believed that everyone should have the opportunity to get an education so they can be successful in their adult life,” said Joe Robach. “This grant money will give more New York college students, and soon-to-be college students, the chance to go on to earn a college degree, something that is so valuable in today’s world.”
Senator Joe Robach has always advocated for making higher education more cost-friendly so that every student can work towards the goal of enrolling in college, while not having the worry about how they are going to pay for it.
This is the fifth federal College Access Challenge Grant awarded to New York State. The New York State Higher Education Services Corporation will administer the grant and has successfully competed for New York’s previous four federal CAGG awards totaling $29 million and has provided services to more than 124,000 New Yorkers.
Recently, Senator Joe Robach joined members of the Greece and Hilton Rotary Clubs at Northwood Elementary School to distribute Student Dictionaries to the school’s third grade classes. Joe Robach has participated in student dictionary distribution with the Rotary Club for several years now and sees it as a great way to support education, especially at the elementary school level.
Senator Joe Robach, along with the Greece and Hilton Rotarians, taught the students about the importance of literacy and the benefits of exploring their new dictionary. Each dictionary also includes information sections about the galaxies, continents and all 50 states!
“I can still remember getting my first dictionary when I was in elementary school and how excited I was to bring it home to show my parents,” said Joe Robach. “I only hope that these students will get as much use out of it as I did, and that they feel the same excitement.”
Senator Joe Robach continues to support education throughout Monroe County, not only through the dictionary distribution project, but in many other ways as well. He is a firm believer that we can improve the classroom experience for all children if we give them the proper tools to learn and find new ways to make learning more enjoyable.
“The truth is, the dictionary distribution is only a small part of what we can do to improve education and literacy in our schools,” said Senator Joe Robach. “We also need the parents to encourage students to utilize and explore their dictionaries, and other learning tools, as much as possible.”
Senator Joe Robach Helps Cut Ribbon on Renovated Rochester City Schools
With the 2013-2014 school year recently underway, Joe Robach is an active supporter of education and the Rochester City School District. That’s why he was on hand to help re-open several City of Rochester schools that have undergone various renovations and improvements. A week before the start of school, students, teachers, parents and school administrators convened at the Enrico Fermi School #17 on Orchard Street and at Helen Barrett Montgomery School #50 in the City of Rochester.
School #17 is a newly rebuilt school that serves grades pre-K through 8 and is an Extended Learning Time School adding 300 hours to the school year for each student. Joe Robach was pleased to discuss the importance of education as one of the distinguished speakers at the official ribbon cutting ceremony.
“This is a magnificent, new facility for you to learn and grow in. This facility is as good as any that I’ve seen in the Rochester area, it’s now up to you to put in the work to ensure you get the most out of your education,” commented Senator Joe Robach.
School #50 serves grades K through 6 with an academic vision of “Academic excellence: every minutes counts!” Senator Joe Robach echoed that vision and stressed the importance of education, to students and their parents at the school’s opening celebration. “This building is an investment in to you and your education, I know that you all are capable of big things and you now have the resources to do it,” said Joe Robach.
As a native of the Charlotte area, Senator Joe Robach was especially excited to help reopen Charlotte High School on Lake Avenue after it had been closed for substantial renovations. The newly renovated school will not only be home to Charlotte High School and its 9th – 12th graders, but will also be home to the Rochester Leadership Academy for Young Men. Senator Joe Robach was excited to hear about the education the students will receive at this new school.
“The Leadership Academy for Young Men has a commitment to providing young men with an education focused on discipline and respect. The students at this new institution will learn the importance of an education, I have no doubt about that,” said Senator Joe Robach.