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Cloudy Future For Regents

New York State Capitol

New York State Senate Republicans say they will break a longstanding tradition of boycotting the election of new Regents. They now say they will attend a joint legislative session, and that many will vote no over dissatisfaction with the Common Core.  It’s uncertain whether all four of the incumbent Regents members will be reelected. 

Senate Education Chair John Flanagan says Republican Senators will be attending a joint session of the legislature to appoint board of Regents members to new terms. But he says many GOP members will be voting no.

“There’s a very strong feeling that not enough has been done,” Flanagan said. “And they’re still not listening and acting the way that they should.”

Flanagan, who says he expects a “lively dialogue,” says he will also urge state education officials to seek a waiver from some of the testing associated with the Common Core.  He says the state of California recently was granted permission by the federal government for an exemption of some of   the Common Core requirements.

“What happened in California should be the clarion wake up call for the state of New York,” Flanagan said.

In past Regents elections, Assembly Democrats have had enough votes to approve Regents members of their choice. This year, though, because of several vacancies, the Assembly Democrats will need help from other factions.  It’s expected that nearly all Republicans in the legislature will vote no and many Democrats in the Senate also say they won’t back the Regents nominees.  

Senator George Latimer, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Education Committee, says he won’t be endorsing any of the Regents candidates. Latimer compared the ongoing implementation of Common Core to the disastrous voyage of the Titanic.

“You’re going across the North Atlantic at breakneck speed, you have reports of icebergs out there, you’re not slowing down, you’re not accessing what jeopardy exists there,” said Latimer.  “We’re making a mistake for large number of students all across this state. And I don’t want to be part of making that mistake.”

There are also indications that even the Assembly Democrats may reject at least one of the incumbent Regents, seeking to make a statement about widespread dissatisfaction over the implementation of the Common Core learning standards.  

Meanwhile, Governor Cuomo late on Monday released the recommendations from a panel that he appointed to fix Common Core.  They include ensuring that the new Common Core test results for third- through eighth-graders will not count on students’ permanent records, and an end to the State Education Department’s contract with a private company, called InBloom, to input students’ personal records and data. The panel does not recommend a moratorium on using the test results to evaluate teachers.

Senator Flanagan says he expects a new law by end of the month to fix some of the problems stemming from Common Core.

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