Category Archives: Public Policy Institute

PPI Series: Business and Higher Education Leaders Support College- and Career-Ready Standards to Boost New York’s Economy

PPI Common Core: Here to Stay?

Part six of an ongoing series on higher standards in New York State

By themselves, new education standards cannot solve New York’s skills gap or remedial education epidemic, but they are an important piece of the puzzle.  Here’s how it works:  With clearer standards to guide educators, a higher percentage of high schoolers should graduate with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in college, and fewer of them should require remedial courses.  A reduction in the need for remediation should increase college attainment rates.  Economists have shown that higher levels of college attainment lead to a more productive workforce.  College-educated workers earn higher wages, which enables them to contribute more in tax revenue and rely less on state assistance programs.

Figure 4. Theory of Action

New York’s neighbor to the east, Massachusetts, provides a convincing case study of how raising standards is an important step to improving educational outcomes and economic productivity.  In the early 1990s, a group called the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education issued a report that became the blueprint for a bipartisan reform bill.  The reform package included three main components:  (1) More money to urban schools and pre-Kindergarten programs; (2) ambitious academic standards; and (3) a new set of testing requirements, including high school exit exams (analogous to New York’s Regents Exams), known collectively as the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS).   When the MCAS was first administered in 1998, students in urban schools performed terribly.  Improvement was so slow at first that researchers thought the reforms had failed, but State Superintendent David Driscoll insisted on staying the course.

Over the next ten years, Massachusetts became the envy of the nation for its education outcomes.  In 2005, Massachusetts scored at the top of all four categories measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (4th and 8th grade ELA and math).  In 2008, Massachusetts 8th graders tied for first in the world in science on the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study exam.  From 2002 to 2009, NAEP scores for Massachusetts African-Americans and Hispanics on the 4th and 8th grade ELA improved faster than those of white students.  If Massachusetts were a country, its 2009 PISA scores would place it in the top ten, with countries like Singapore, Korea, and Finland.  Economic outcomes have improved as well.  The share of adults with a college degree has grown more in Massachusetts than in any other state, and worker productivity has grown more quickly in Massachusetts than in all but two other states.

If our policymakers wish to replicate Massachusetts’ outstanding educational trajectory, they will have to resist political opposition to tougher standards and tests, continue to gather high-quality data via standardized tests and other means, and throw their strong support behind policies that have the best chance of improving student outcomes.  Understanding this, New York’s business and higher education leaders—from IBM’s Stanley Litow and Xerox’s Ursula Burns, to SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and CUNY Chancellor James B. Milliken—have been vocal supporters of the Common Core standards, vigorously urging their colleagues, policymakers, and the public to see them through to full implementation.

Please click here to read part five in this ongoing series.

PPI Series: New York Needs College- and Career-Ready Standards to Bridge the Skills Gap

PPI Common Core: Here to Stay?

Part five of an ongoing series on higher standards in New York State

To a troubling degree, young adults leave New York’s high schools and colleges lacking the skills and knowledge that employers are looking for.  A newly released Public Policy Institute survey of New York employers from across the state finds that the majority face a mismatch between the skills they need and the skills workers possess.  More than 60% of the employers surveyed report difficulty finding workers with data analysis skills or critical thinking skills, and more than half have difficulty finding workers skilled at problem-solving, communications, research, or applied mathematics.  Indeed, more than twenty percent say it is “very difficult” to find workers with skills in data analysis or applied mathematics.  Between one-third and one-half of employers responding to the survey report difficulty finding workers with such skills as time management, reasoning, teamwork, application of core content, or the use of technology.

Percent of New York Employers Reporting Difficulty Finding Workers with Needed Skills

Percent of New York Employers Reporting Difficulty Finding Workers with Needed Skills

The origins of this skills gap lie in New York’s education pipeline.  Before the Board of Regents voted to adopt the Common Core, New York’s education standards were failing to keep pace with the changing demands of our global economy.  Three-quarters of New York students graduate from high school, but statistics released by the New York State Education Department reveal that only 38% of high school students graduate with the literacy and math skills they need for college and careers.   The “college- and career-ready graduation rate,” refers to the percentage of students graduating with a score of at least 75 on the Regents English and 80 on a math Regents exam, scores that have been shown to correlate with success in first-year college courses.  In other words, until the Common Core standards are fully phased in, a student can earn a high school diploma in New York without having mastered fundamental math and literacy skills.

New York State high school graduation rate, 2010 cohort.

New York State High School Graduation Rate, 2010 Cohort

Because a high school diploma no longer signifies academic preparedness, large numbers of incoming college students are surprised to discover that they require remedial courses in reading, writing, or mathematics.  More than fifty percent of students in New York two-year institutions of higher education, and 20 percent of those entering four-year institutions, take at least one remedial course.  In fact, many must take more than one.  This is a problem for multiple reasons.  First, it is more difficult for students who need remediation to graduate from college—both because they have difficulty meeting the academic challenge, and because it is harder for them to take and pay for the additional courses.  Tightening financial aid eligibility rules and academic progress requirements ensnare remedial students.  Second, the remedial education epidemic is a huge waste of taxpayer money. Each year, the State spends over $70 million on remediation at State University of New York (SUNY) community colleges alone.  SUNY community college students themselves spend approximately $93 million in tuition—much of it in the form of government-financed aid—on remedial classes, which cover material they should have learned in high school. These shocking figures do not include the millions of additional taxpayer dollars spent on remediation for New York students at the City University of New York and private colleges.

A first step in closing the skills gap and reducing the need for college remediation is to clearly state what skills and knowledge a high school graduate should possess.  The Common Core standards are essentially a detailed statement of expectations in math and English language arts/literacy.  (Despite widespread misconceptions, they are not a curriculum, nor are they a program of testing.)  They consist of “college and career readiness standards,” which state what students are expected to know and be able to do by the time they graduate from high school (the goal); and K-12 standards, which cover the elementary, middle, and high school grades (the path to that goal).   The college and career readiness standards were developed first, drawing on statistical analysis of employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and validated by interviews with managers from industries that employ highly-paid professionals and well-paid, skilled workers.  Furthermore, the standards are internationally benchmarked, to help ensure that our students are globally competitive.  For example, the drafters of the Common Core standards identified countries whose students were top performers on the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, then studied how those countries teach math, in order to gain insight on “the most effective sequencing of math topics.” Researchers also looked at the language skills that high-performing countries expect of their students, including the types and complexity of texts.

Excerpts from the Common Core standards (below) illustrate how the standards address the skills in greatest demand in the Public Policy Institute’s survey.  This is only a brief sampling, to give a sense of how the standards are worded and the kinds of skills they cover.  Most of these skills are woven throughout the standards (which can be read in full on the Common Core State Standards Initiative website at www.corestandards.org, or on the New York State Education Department’s EngageNY.org site).  The Common Core standards are not just about mastering content and concepts.  They emphasize modeling, critical thinking, and collaboration, requiring students to use math and literacy skills to analyze real-world situations, construct arguments, make informed decisions, solve problems, and present their findings.Examples of Skills Covered in the Standards

Examples of Skills Covered in the Standards

Please click here to read the fourth part in this ongoing series.

PPI Series: Teachers Point to Early Benefits of Higher Standards

PPI Common Core: Here to Stay?

Part four of an ongoing series on higher standards in New York State

While there have been plenty of challenges with the adoption of higher standards in New York, the public has not been hearing enough about the positive results that the state is already seeing.  Student outcomes are not going to improve overnight, as Massachusetts learned when it raised standards in the 1990s (more on that in a future post).  But the results of New York’s math tests, which are used to measure students’ mastery of the standards, are encouraging:  The percentage of all test takers in grades 3-8 who scored at the proficient level has increased by seven points, from 31% in 2013 up to 38% in 2015.  Even more promising, the Common Core movement seems to have tapped a phenomenal burst of energy and creativity among New York’s teachers.  In today’s post, you’ll hear from some of those teachers in their own words.

The “Engaged Voices” section of the New York State Education Department’s EngageNY.org site is full of ideas, videos, and testimonials by New York teachers and administrators.  (The teacher and principal testimonials throughout this post are from Engaged Voices unless otherwise noted.)  Angela Logan-Smith, principal of the Goldie Maple Academy in Queens, describes how teachers are using the standards as a jumping-off point for innovative learning activities: 

Children get engaged in ideas and love to do projects to extend their learning. Teachers love this too; it gives them a chance to pursue their students’ interests in creative ways. Last year, one class of kindergartners was fascinated with recycling after finishing [a Common-Core-aligned unit] called Taking Care of the Earth. Their teacher took them on a walk near the school in which they identified litter that could have been recycled. The next day, the teacher brought in clean examples of all the things they identified. After donning their white lab coats, these little scientists figured out which recycling bin each item belonged in [and] discussed what could have been saved if all the litter they saw outside had been recycled.

The EngageNY.org site also contains free curriculum resources for teachers and principals and has received tens of millions of hits.  Katherine Hesla, a humanities teacher in Webster Central Schools near Rochester, talks about the advantages of sharing ideas and resources in a recent Wall Street Journal article.  “One of the huge benefits of the Common Core is that it gave us someplace to start from and collaborate,” she explains.  “Before, we were all just making up our own thing.”

Louis Cuglietto, the principal of JFK Magnet Elementary School in the Mid-Hudson Valley, explains the way math instruction is changing under the new standards:

Instead of lessons that feature a single procedure, teachers are facilitating learning by giving students multiple ways that they can use to come to the answer. Students then discuss both their answer and the process they used, which provides the opportunity for all students to learn from each other and develop a more fluid, conceptual understanding of mathematics.

Karen Marino, a math specialist in Skaneateles, Central New York, describes it as a “new rigorous math world in which struggle and persistence precede success.”  According to Marylee Liebowitz, a math coach from Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES, these shifts are long overdue:

As a math teacher for twenty-two years, I witnessed first-hand how American students have slipped further and further behind their global competitors…. We, as educators, have been unable to raise student performance in math and have repeatedly found US students near the bottom of the math rankings, despite the disproportionate amount of money spent on educating each child. During these years, I worked hard to design my own classroom lessons to stress understanding and mathematical thinking over a “step by step” process so my students truly comprehended the math behind the algorithm….  I was so pleased and surprised to find that the functional changes that we are making to teaching math are reflective of the strategies that I have found to be most successful with my students….

I truly believe these standards will result in the curricular and instructional changes that New York students need to become college ready and have an opportunity to participate positively in the global economy they will encounter when entering the workplace. The Common Core Learning Standards will help ensure that students are not hindered by poor qualifications and remediation but rather provide them with the footing they need to have real choices about their education, and careers.  Their futures will be in their hands.  

Teachers in other subjects are no less enthusiastic about the Common Core shifts in the way students are learning literacy skills.  The changes start early, according to Rochelle Jensen, an elementary school teacher in Rome, in the Mohawk Valley:

I don’t want a quiet classroom with kids sitting at their desk and hands folded waiting for me to spill out the next lesson. My classroom is filled with inquisitive students gaining knowledge through complex text, using close reading strategies to infer meaning and providing supporting evidence in their responses. When students are doing most of the talking their thinking gets stronger and they can then build on this knowledge when they write.

Andria Finch, an English language arts teacher in Franklin, in the Southern Tier, agrees that close reading leads to better writing:

Because my students now closely analyze authors’ use of language and the ways these authors unfold their stories, not only are they generating their own ideas and providing evidence to support their claims, but their own creative writing has improved tremendously as well. 

And Roberta Faery, a high school social studies teacher and curriculum facilitator in Newfane, in Western New York, says these shifts are leading to gains across the curriculum:

When students know what it means to ‘make a claim’ in their writing they start to write for a purpose and not just because their teacher assigned it. Students have developed as writers.  Now feedback and revisions are key and an essential piece to the writing process.  The students’ time spent on editing and refining their writing has enabled them to develop a much deeper understanding of content.

To be heard above the sometimes strident controversy, teachers are joining pro-common core organizations, such as the New York Educator Voice Fellowship, and stepping forward to pen op eds in support of the standards and tests.  The New York Post’s “Passing the Common Core” series features teacher perspectives and sample lessons at each grade level.  Many of the teachers speaking out are motivated by a vision of equal educational opportunity for our state’s disadvantaged students.  Joshua Cornue, a fourth grade teacher in Rochester, explains:

The Common Core has allowed me to embrace higher expectations for my students. These kids who come from the most impoverished areas of the city, and who have often faced a track record of failure in school, are now coming in with more knowledge and confidence since they have been exposed to higher level work.

Teresa Ranieri, a first grade teacher at P.S. 11 in the Bronx, expresses a similar sentiment in a recent op ed in support of the annual state tests:

The data and results derived from assessments are a path to providing equal opportunity to a quality education for all.  I believe that by providing all students with an education they deserve, and annually measuring their growth and making instructional improvement, we can begin to bridge the inequality gaps in our education system.

Tim O. Mains, superintendent of the Jamestown Public Schools in Western New York, shares his perspective:

These new exams are more sophisticated than those given years ago. The stronger emphasis on skills like problem solving and critical thinking focus on building what students need for success.…  We believe that the tests are one fair measure of how well our students are learning the Common Core standards. The exams become a valuable measure of how well we are doing as a district. 

Educators who have seen first-hand the benefits of the new standards in their own schools and classrooms are making their voices heard.  Michelle Helmer, director of curriculum and instructional coach in the Silver Creek and Forestville School Districts in Western New York, concludes a recent article in the Observer Today with a strong call to action:

Let’s not divert our resources, change our trajectory, or back down. Let’s not settle for reactionary changes to the Common Core Standards in order to calm the political waters or make our work easier when it may leave a wake of superficial learning in its path. Let’s instead continue to support our teachers, leaders and students. Let’s provide the resources, time, and encouragement needed to work for the changes we wish to see in our classrooms for our students.

Please click here to read the third part in this ongoing series.

PPI Series: Standards vs. Curriculum vs. Assessment—What’s the Difference?

PPI Common Core: Here to Stay?

Part three of an ongoing series on higher standards in New York State

When people talk about “Common Core” and higher standards, what exactly are they referring to? In today’s post, I’ll use an analogy to explain the role and purpose of education standards.

In order to earn your driver’s license, you first must be able to demonstrate the knowledge and skills associated with driving.  But the State of New York doesn’t mandate exactly how you learn to drive.  So although the state insists that you know how to parallel park, understand traffic signs, are able to merge onto the highway, etc. (those are the standards), you have some choices as to how to learn these skills and knowledge.  You can choose between a short pre-licensing course or a longer driver’s education course.  You have some freedom to decide where and when to practice driving.  You might decide to review videos and other instructional materials and take a few practice tests, or you might not.  All of those lessons, practice sessions, and materials constitute the curriculum.  The same principle is behind the Common Core standards:  They specify what we expect students to know and be able in to do in each grade to progress and, by the end of high school, to be college- and career-ready.   How to get students to that point—including decisions about curriculum, training, tools, materials, and textbooks—is up to states, districts, schools, and teachers.

Assessments or tests are the instruments the state uses to measure mastery of a set of standards.  States that adopted the Common Core standards were not required to increase the amount of testing.  Whenever standards change, however, any tests that are used to measure mastery of those standards need to be modified to accurately reflect the same content as the new standards.  Thus, for example, when New York State changes any of the rules of the road that drivers are expected to know (e.g., the “Move Over” Law passed in 2012), it has to update the road test and written test to appropriately address the new material.  The degree to which standards, curriculum, and assessments address the same content is called alignment.

Want to learn more about the Common Core standards? Watch for more blog posts in this series, and visit the Public Policy Institute of New York State website. But don’t just take our word for it. You can read the actual standards at www.corestandards.org/.

Please click here to read the second part in this ongoing series.

PPI Series: The Common Core Standards Represent “the Best of Our Knowledge”

PPI Common Core: Here to Stay?

Part two of an ongoing series on higher standards in New York State

Ever since 1983, when President Ronald Reagan called for state leaders to raise expectations for their education systems, the issue of state standards has been part of the education policy conversation.  Over the decades that followed, each state developed its own standards, including New York, which approved “learning standards” in seven content areas in 1996.  But this patchwork led to frustration among policymakers, who wanted to be able to compare student data across states in order to determine the relative effectiveness of their schools and education policies.  State-by-state variation in standards also meant that American students faced vast differences in educational expectations depending on where they happened to live. Some states intentionally set low standards, in a so-called “race to the bottom,” so that they could claim that a higher number of their students were achieving proficiency.

Thus, in 2009, governors and state education commissioners from 51 states and territories agreed to create shared standards in ELA and math.  A team of content experts, education researchers, teachers, and higher education faculty was assembled to begin the development process.  New York contributed more experts to the K-12 standards development teams than any other state; these included certified teachers, representatives of the teacher’s unions, and SUNY faculty. In March 2010, the National Governors Association released a draft for public feedback, and more than 10,000 individual comments were received.  New York had more than 570 commenters—including parents, higher education faculty, and over 300 teachers—far outnumbering the participation in any other state except California. The final standards were released in June 2010, and over the months that followed, individual states further reviewed them and decided whether to adopt them.

Ultimately, more than 40 states and the District of Columbia adopted the Common Core standards.  Because the Common Core standards were developed through a state-led, open and collaborative process that drew on the best available expertise, they can truly be said to embody “the best of our knowledge.”  The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a think tank that specializes in analyzing education standards, describes the features that make the Common Core standards so much better than pre-existing state standards:

They are admirably aligned with rigorous research (on early reading instruction, for example); explicit about the quality and complexity of reading and writing that should be expected of students every year; very solid on arithmetic as a clear priority in the elementary grades; ambitious in aiming for college and career readiness by the end of twelfth grade; and relatively jargon-free.

Moreover, expectations are now consistent across more than 40 states and are no longer dependent on a student’s zip code.

Yet every passing week seems to bring a news story about another state in which the Common Core is under attack.  Many of these stories are based on bills that were introduced by state legislators but ultimately failed to become law, or lawsuits sponsored by interest groups who misleadingly paint the standards and testing consortia as forcible intrusions by the Obama administration into state and local matters.  While it is true that federal Race to the Top grants provided financial incentives that hastened adoption of the standards and financed the testing consortia, state participation in those programs was voluntary.  The state-driven common standards movement pre-dates Race to the Top, and most states welcomed the influx of federal funding in support of their efforts.

The Common Core standards are in effect in more than 40 states, including every state that originally adopted them except Oklahoma and South Carolina.  In response to political controversy, some states have re-branded the standards by changing the name but have quietly retained the substance.  More than a dozen states, including New York, have adapted the standards by adding supplementary language—a move that was anticipated by the original adoption agreement under the so-called “15 percent rule.” Numerous states, including New York, have postponed or pulled back from full-scale participation in the Common Core testing consortia, while retaining the standards themselves.  Several states, including New York, have launched processes to review the standards and associated tests.

All of this has done little to roll back the Common Core standards, and it is arguable that the additional scrutiny and fine-tuning at the state level will ultimately strengthen the standards and improve their implementation.

To read part one in the series, please click here.

PPI Series: Common Core: Here to Stay?

PPI Common Core: Here to Stay?

Part one of an ongoing series on higher standards in New York State

Each passing week seems to bring another negative story about “Common Core”:  viral social media posts show nonsensical math homework assignments that stump parents; presidential candidates and state legislators across the nation grab headlines by vowing to repeal the standards; and Governor Cuomo’s Common Core Task Force has recommended modifying the standards and associated policies. Does all this mean that the Common Core is going away? And does it even matter?

Over the past five years, at the same time that the media have been reporting controversies and protests, the Common Core standards were taking root firmly in classrooms across the nation. The New York Common Core Task Force’s recent review of the standards has yielded a set of recommendations for change, and some of those changes are considered quite significant by teachers and parents. Most notably, the Board of Regents has adopted the Task Force’s recommendation to remove any consequences for teachers’ and principals’ evaluations related to New York’s grades 3-8 ELA and math tests until the 2019-2020 school year. As for the standards themselves, the Task Force explicitly affirmed that New York must maintain high educational standards and “build upon the foundation established by the Common Core standards,” while acknowledging that some changes should be considered to ensure that the standards in the early grades are developmentally appropriate. The New York State Education Department has pledged to use feedback received from parents and teachers familiar with the standards to “identify where and what changes are needed to make New York’s Common Core ELA and Math Learning Standards stronger.”

In the coming weeks, this blog mini-series will argue that higher standards are important to the economic future of our state and our citizens, and will take you on a guided tour through the many reasons why I believe the Common Core is here to stay.

Panel discusses higher standards

The Manhattan Chamber of Commerce last week hosted a panel discussion on higher education standards, the value of assessments and business engagement in education at the Microsoft Technology Center in New York City. The event—sponsored by the Public Policy Institute of New York State (PPI) and the Committee for Economic Development—featured a panel of local stakeholders: Cass Conrad, executive director of School Support and Development at CUNY; Tenicka Boyd, director of organizing at StudentsFirstNY; Neal Gorka a teacher at Democracy Prep Charter Middle School; and Robert Patterson, business development manager at Progressive Computing Inc.

Since its adoption by the New York State Board of Regents in January 2011, the Common Core has been conflated with a host of unrelated issues, namely teacher evaluations, which include a student-growth component centered on state and local assessments.

Higher Education Standards panel
Courtesy: Manhattan Chamber of Commerce

Boyd, who is a strong supporter of both the standards and Common Core aligned-assessments, told the audience about her background growing up in a low-income neighborhood in Milwaukee. There, Ms. Boyd told how she was inspired by her third-grade teacher, Mr. Smith, who made a huge impact on her life and the lives of her classmates. She also noted that the opt-out movement—which has been wrought with misinformation— was not prevalent in lower-income and minority communities.

In regard to the current workforce’s preparation for 21st century careers, Patterson noted that job applicants often lacked “soft skills,” including working in groups and critical thinking.

Event attendees all received copies of PPI’s Common Core Standards: What Every New Yorker Needs to Know and Partnering with Schools for College and Career Readiness: Resources for the New York State Business Community.

We would like to thanks the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce for partnering with us on this great event.

New leadership volunteers announced

The Business Council of New York State, Inc. and The Public Policy Institute of New York State, Inc. recently announced the appointment of new members to their respective board of directors and board of trustees as well as appointees to The Business Council board’s executive committee.

“On behalf of The Business Council and The Public Policy Institute, I am pleased to welcome our new board members, executive committee members, and trustees,” said Heather C. Briccetti, Esq., president and CEO of The Business Council and The Public Policy Institute.

New Business Council board of directors

Mary Ann Christopher,MSN, RN, FAAN, Visiting Nurse Service of New York’s president and CEO.  Ms. Christopher has served as president and CEO of the VNSNY, the nation’s largest not-for-profit home- and community-based health care organization, since January 2012.  She is a leading national voice on a wide range of health care issues.

Charles Dorego, senior vice president and general counsel at Glenwood Management Corp.  Mr. Dorego brings over 30 years of diverse, hands-on, experience in all aspects of the real estate industry.  He joined Glenwood Management, one of New York City’s largest and most preeminent real estate development companies in September 2001,

Denise Gonick, president and CEO of MVP Health Care.  Ms. Gonick became president and CEO of MVP Health Care in December 2012.  She also served MVP in various positions over the years including president of operations, executive vice president, administrative services and chief legal officer.

Jeff Jacobson, executive vice president and president of Xerox Technology.  Mr. Jacobson leads the company’s technology business, which provides document technology products and services to customers ranging from small businesses to multinational enterprises.

John McAvoy, chairman, president and CEO of Consolidated Edison, Inc.  Mr. McAvoy joined Con Edison in 1980, and has served in positions of increasing responsibility including as president and CEO of Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc.

New Business Council executive committee members

Business Council Vice Chair Karen Boykin-Towns, Pfizer, Inc.’s vice president, business unit public affairs.  Ms. Boykin-Towns has built a reputation as a visionary and strategic results-driver in complex business and government environments with demonstrated success in healthcare policy, advocacy, public affairs, communication, and proactive change management.  Ms. Towns’ career at Pfizer, Inc. spans 18 years.

Business Council Vice Chair Thomas F. Judson, Jr., chairman & CEO of The Pike Company, Inc. Mr. Judson began his career in construction working as a laborer and carpenter apprentice during school summer breaks for John B. Pike & Son, Inc., a general contracting company founded by his great-grandfather in 1873.  In 1985, he established The Pike Company, Inc., one of New York State’s most respected and successful construction firms.

New Public Policy Institute board of trustees

 Sheila Appel, IBM’s U.S. regional director of corporate citizenship.  At IBM, Sheila Appel is responsible for leading the U.S. team — overseeing a range of programs helping to establish IBM as a leader in a new breed of corporate philanthropy — an approach that promotes systemic social improvement.

Michael J. Masse, HSBC Bank USA, N.A., senior vice president.  At HSBC, Mr. Masse leads the bank’s D.C.-based government and institutional banking team.  He previously led a number of teams within HSBC including commercial middle market banking in Central New York/Albany; public banking throughout New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. 

 

 

Global trade and foreign investment forum planned

Making global trade and foreign investment a sustainable driver of New York’s economy will be examined at a June 17 forum presented by The Public Policy Institute of New York State, Inc. and The Business Council of New York State, Inc. as part of the Opportunity Upstate series.

The forum, Global Trade and Foreign Investment: Key Elements of a Vibrant Upstate Economy of the Future, will held be at The Business Council’s offices at 12 Corporate Woods Blvd. in Albany from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Attendance at the forum is free, but registration is required by clicking here.

New York has the third largest exporting economy in the nation and recent estimates show that one-third of Upstate manufacturers already trade globally.

Expanding upon this base creates an opportunity for upstate businesses, especially small- and mid-sized businesses, to increase sales and operating efficiency resulting in job creation for communities.

The forum will bring together business and economic development policy experts and practitioners who will examine:

• Trends in global trade, emerging and developed markets and how these trends could impact the economy of Upstate New York.
• The current role of global trade and foreign investment in Upstate New York.
• Regional and state initiatives now underway.
• The need to make global trade and foreign investment a more integrated, sustainable part of a competitive Upstate economy in the years to come.

Participants will include, Kenneth Adams, president & CEO of Empire State Development and commissioner of the New York State Department of Economic Development, Jose Rasco, managing director and head of investment strategy for HSBC Private Bank, and representatives of regional economic development organizations including the North Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, and the Center for Economic Growth. They will discuss programs, strategies, resources and best practices for growing foreign trade and investment.

Commissioner Adams will provide an overview of the state’s efforts to promote global trade, attract foreign investment, and help restore Upstate New York as a leader in foreign trade and investment through Global NY, START-UP NY and the “go global” emphasis of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative.

Mr. Rasco will provide an international view on trade, investment data and trends focusing on how these could impact New York state as a whole and Upstate in particular.

Opportunity Upstate is an initiative of The Public Policy Institute of New York State and The Business Council of New York State that focuses on the region’s most pressing issues that have impeded its economic growth along with some its most valuable assets that are or have the potential to be key economic drivers. Through a series of forums and an examination of issues like taxes and excessive business regulation, and assets like manufacturing, innovation, global trade and foreign investment and education, PPI and The Business Council will prepare recommendations and propose changes needed to achieve the ideal upstate business climate.

Final New York state budget needs to grow jobs and economy

As the Governor and New York State Legislature progress in final budget negotiations, The Business Council of New York State, Inc. is calling for a final state budget that boost jobs and New York’s economy.

“Job creation and economic growth are key to building strong communities in New York,” said Heather C. Briccetti, Esq., president and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, Inc. “Continuing to restrain spending, implementing broad-based tax reform and mandate relief need to be a priority for a final state budget.”

The Council also debuted a new ad, “Help New York’s economy grow,” focusing on how tax cuts will help improve New York’s economy. Watch the ad below.

[youtube height=”HEIGHT” width=”WIDTH”]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5XYdVo6UeQ&feature=youtu.be[/youtube]

Business Council Vice President of Government Affairs Ken Pokalsky’s letter to the editor was published in the Albany Times Union. Read his letter that outlines how increasing taxes won’t help create jobs in New York how tax cuts would help create a more competitive economic climate to generate good-paying jobs and healthier communities.

A study earlier this year by The Public Policy Institute of New York State, Inc. (PPI), “Analysis of Economic Impacts of New York Corporate Income Tax Reform,” showed that when the tax reforms are fully adopted, major business and employment sectors will grow including construction, trades and business service sectors, manufacturing, and financial services.

Among the other issues of concern to The Business Council in a final state budget: Paid Family Leave, Out-of-Network Mandates, Energy Tax, Campaign Finance Reform, Brownfields, and education and tourism funding. Read more on The Business Council’s website.