Latest CRREO discussion brief focuses on public education

CRREO logoThe Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach (CRREO) at SUNY New Paltz has released its 12th discussion brief, “Public Education in Ulster County: Finding the Right Scale.”

The discussion brief notes that in times of fiscal stress, policymakers look to find efficiencies in public spending with public education often an area of focus. To that end, school district consolidation is often promoted as a mechanism for achieving fiscal economies, and is frequently cited as a solution to overspending in schools.

Author Robin Jacobowitz, Ph.D., interim associate director of CRREO, reports that despite the public attention given to school district consolidation, it may no longer be a viable, blanket solution to achieving economies of scale in public education. In the brief, Jacobowitz suggests a conversation of “scaling-up” be considered as an alternative to determine the best way to achieve the desired scale without sacrificing quality or community.

“As we seek new organizational, administrative, and pedagogical models for assuring New York’s children the very best education we can offer in an environment of ever greater social and economic diversity and constrained resources, this paper reminds us that we must avoid getting trapped into mere stylized reconsideration of conventional approaches,” said Gerald Benjamin, CRREO director and associate vice president for regional engagement. “It also shows us how to think anew, in creative ways, of what might be truly innovative, efficient and effective regional solutions for the challenging years ahead.”

In November 2013, education stakeholders from school districts in Ulster County convened at SUNY New Paltz for a day-long conference, A 2020 Vision for Public Education in Ulster County, to discuss options for achieving efficiency and effectiveness goals related to public education. Symposium participants, and Ulster County, will continue to explore more deeply some of these identified options and then determine, within the context of those findings, how to best proceed with enhancing efficiency for our schools and greater educational opportunities for our children.

CRREO was established in 2007 to further engage SUNY New Paltz with communities, governments, not-for-profits, and businesses across our region. CRREO conducts and publicizes research on regional topics; creates and directs select institutes focusing on specific topics of regional interest; connects and partners with local governments, not-for-profits, and businesses to initiate reforms and advocate for best practices; contracts to assess the performance of public and not-for-profit agencies and programs; and works to foster intergovernmental collaboration and community engagement.