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Regents visit focuses on improving student achievement

Binghamton University played host to a meeting of the New York State Board of Regents last week — one of several being held around the state to discuss improving the state’s educational system.

About 50 people, including area superintendents, representatives of K-12 educational agencies and the State Education Department, joined Binghamton faculty and administrators for the discussion on “Closing the Gaps in Student Achievement.” Regent James Tallon, moderator, said the Regents need to hear from many kinds of leaders as they search for ways to help students achieve. “We need this kind of assemblage,” he said. “Our challenge is to realize the advantages of this joint venture.” “The University is delighted to host and provide a venue for the New York Regents to focus on such a timely and important topic,” said President Lois B. DeFleur, who participated in the discussion. “These issues are crucial not only to K-12 education, but to higher education as well.”

In considering what is the most critical shortfall in the educational system, participants said educators need to do more with pre-school literacy and early interventions to prepare children to learn.

“If a child doesn’t get a good start, there’s a very expensive chasing of the problem,” said Richard Mills, state commissioner of education.

Richard Montgomery, superintendent of the Windsor Central School District, spoke of a paradigm shift. “We need to know what to teach, we need a good measuring tool and we need to know what to do next,“ he said. “We’re no longer in the teaching business, we’re in the learning business.”

University participants addressed what they see in students coming to the higher education arena — students who are under prepared in math and in the ability to write, and students who have learned facts, but not necessarily how to acquire, assess and process information in a way that provides depth of knowledge.

The Regents will continue similar discussions around the state in preparation for a November summit.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08