images of parents with their children
October 9, 2020
Dear Parents,

In New York, we value diversity. The Board of Regents and the New York State Education Department (NYSED) are committed to supporting equity and inclusion for all New Yorkers. That is why we oppose President Trump's Executive Order banning racial sensitivity training in many workplaces. We have all seen the way the pandemic has exposed the inequities in our society, including in education. We can only begin to address these equity issues by better understanding our biases, appreciating diversity, and uniting as one to solve our problems together.

There are many benefits of diversity, including differences in ability. This month, NYSED is celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month to honor businesses that share these values. Throughout October, NYSED's Office of Adult Career and Continuing Education Services, along with several partner organizations, is hosting virtual events across the state to recognize businesses that do an outstanding job of employing individuals with disabilities. This special year marks the 75th observance of NDEAM, the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and 100 years of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program.

Given the opportunity, individuals with disabilities are excellent employees who add value to the workforce. The Board of Regents and NYSED are grateful for the important work being done by our team and our partners to support people with disabilities in finding employment opportunities.

This week is also Digital Inclusion Week, and the New York State Library announced that $1,757,794 in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds are being made available to help libraries across the state prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19, including to expand digital network access, purchase internet accessible devices, and provide technical support services. These federal CARES Act funds were awarded to the New York State Library by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Providing access to educational resources is the core mission of our public libraries. At a time when we have seen firsthand the implications of the digital divide, it is more important than ever that libraries can increase the digital services they provide. I'm confident that communities across New York will truly benefit from this aid as they continue to persevere through the COVID-19 pandemic.

I appreciate everything you do to support your children, schools, and communities. Thank you for reading.


Betty A. Rosa
Interim Commissioner