But whether it is upstate of downstate, the best long term economic development strategy is to have the best education system in the world, period and that is our focus. We are in the midst of an education reinvention. Replacing a 1950’s bureaucracy with a 2020 performance organization, we formed the new New York education reform Commission headed by Dick Parsons, they have done extraordinary work; they have called for a full day Pre-K, extending school days and for performance pay. The next step now in our journey is to reinvent our classrooms with new technology. We must transform our classrooms from the classrooms of yesterday to the classrooms of tomorrow. Experts said that technology would be the great equalizer, they said that the information superhighway would be a democratizer of education and that is correct and they are right. If you are on the information superhighway, but if you are not on the information super highway it could leave you behind at 100 miles per hour. And there are great disparities in education, at some schools there are children who are on the internet. Some schools don’t even have a basketball net. There are some schools with sophisticated new computer systems in the first grade. There are some schools where the most sophisticated piece of electronic equipment is the metal detector that you walk through on the way to the classroom and that is just wrong in the state of New York.
We can do better, we must do better, we will do better, lets invest in the future, lets reimagine our classrooms for the next generation, let’s have the smartest classrooms in the nation because our children deserve nothing less than the best. Let’s go to the people of this state, let’s be bold, let’s go to them in November with a bond referendum with a smart schools initiative lets invest $2 billion in providing the technology of tomorrow today to bring our classrooms up to speed. What this new technology means, it means that every child learns that his or her own pace. The students get the skills they need to succeed within the 21st century economy, the y have access to advanced courses, parents and teachers can communicate and teachers can access the assistance and training that they need. It is not going to be about growing the bureaucracy it’s going to be about helping students. It is going to be used for equipment such as laptops, desktops, tablets, infrastructure upgrades and high speed broadband. There will be strict eligibility for the use of funds and each district must submit a technology plan for approval by the state. And while we remake our class rooms for tomorrow, we must get young minds engaged as early as possible. In 2013 in the State of the State, we called for expanded full day Pre-K. The assembly has long championed the same. It is time for New York State to have universal full day Pre-K statewide.
Quality teachers are the backbone of our education system and let’s recognize and welcome our master teacher Abbey Albright who did the introduction and for being here today, thank you again Abbey. We are going to continue the transformation of our system and reward performance by creating a teacher excellence fund. It is going to be the first statewide teacher performance bonus program that actually rewards performance for teachers and incentivizes teachers who perform well. Teachers who are rated highly effective on their evaluations, which is the highest statewide rank, would be eligible to receive $20,000 as a bonus, in performance pay, which is on average 27% of their salaries. You want teachers who can perform and do perform? Then incentivize performance with a performance bonus and pay them like the professionals they are.
When it comes to higher education our SUNY 2020 and CUNY 2020 reinvestment and capital programs are working, we want to continue them for a second round the future of the economy is in STEM jobs, we should be incentivizing our education system to fill those openings we want to provide to the top ten percent of high school graduates full scholarships to any SUNY or CUNY school if they pursue a math of science career and agree to work in the state of New York for five years.