Governor Kathy Hochul today signed legislation to help high school students succeed -- both in and out of the classroom. Legislation (A.514-A/S.5650-A) ensures parents and students receive information on what advanced placement courses are offered, how to enroll in them, and the benefits of participation. Legislation (S.1732/A.6091) establishes peer selected student governments either in high schools or district-wide where there currently are none. This is Governor Hochul's latest commitment to New York's students as they head back to school, building on multiple announcements this week to expand and support a diverse teacher workforce, expand childcare centers at SUNY campuses, and ensure school districts and BOCES have COVID-19 tests and masks available.
"Education is the great equalizer for young New Yorkers,” Governor Hochul said. “This legislation proves that we're not just changing policy - we are creating environments where every family has the knowledge to best support their kids on their educational journey and students have the opportunity to practice civic engagement through opportunities in their own classroom.”
Legislation (A.514-A/S.5650-A) amends the education law to require all school districts and charter schools to provide information to parents and students about the availability and benefits of Advanced Placement (AP) courses in the school on an annual basis. Such notices shall include the benefits of participating in AP courses, a description of the courses offered in the current and following school years by a district or charter school and how to prepare and enroll in them, as well as a description of the academic and non-academic support the district or charter school provides, including financial assistance relating to the cost of participating in AP courses. Such notice must be provided electronically or by mail and be posted on the website of the district or charter school.
State Senator John Liu said, “The first step to addressing the lack of diversity in our schools’ advanced classes is to ensure every family knows what advanced courses are available to them and how these courses can benefit the child’s education. Many thanks to Governor Hochul for recognizing that all schools deserve access to advanced coursework, and that it is imperative to make sure every family, especially those in underserved and underrepresented communities, have the information they need to make informed decisions about their child’s future.”
Legislation (S.1732/A.6091) amends the education law to require that student governments in high schools or district wide are established where they currently do not exist. The board of education or trustees of every school district serving high school students in grades nine through 12 with no districtwide or school building peer selected student government must establish a student government system.
State Senator Shelley Mayer said, “Participation in student government is a direct, hands-on way for young people to experience and learn the value of representational democracy. I am pleased every high school student in New York State will have the opportunity to participate in student government and learn that their voices are important, and that they have the right -- and the obligation -- to participate directly in our democracy. I thank my colleague Assemblyman Steve Otis for his partnership on this legislation, and Governor Kathy Hochul for signing it into law.”
Assemblymember Steven Otis said, “It is more important than ever that we find ways to bolster the understanding of how democracy functions. Democracy is not just a form of government, but it also requires the learned skills of deliberation, cooperation, compromise, and the ability to listen carefully and respect the views of others. Senator Mayer and I sponsored this legislation to ensure that the opportunity for this important civics lesson is available in every high school throughout the state. We again thank Governor Hochul for her strong commitment to these principles and for the strengthening of equity and opportunity with the approval of both of the bills signed today and with her ongoing commitment to education funding.”
New York State Education Department Commissioner Betty A. Rosa said, “Access to opportunities and activities that enrich student experiences and foster diverse skills cultivate well-rounded individuals who are more inclined to engage actively in their communities and become informed, civic-minded citizens. The Department and the Board of Regents are committed to igniting a passion for curiosity and continuous growth, and by expanding programs like these, we can pave the way for a lifelong learning journey for the next generation.”