The New York State Board of Regents are responsible for the general supervision of all educational activities within the State, presiding over The University and the New York State Education Department. The University of the State of New York is the nation’s most comprehensive and unified educational system. It consists of all elementary, secondary, and postsecondary educational institutions, libraries, museums, public broadcasting, records and archives, professions, Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities, and such other institutions, organizations, and agencies as may be admitted to The University.
Regents are elected to office by the State Legislature and serve a five year term. They serve on a volunteer basis and generally have little to do with or in the field of education in their professional lives.
Recently Rochester attorney T. Andrew Brown was elected to the Board of Regents filling the position left by Vice-Chancellor Milton Coefield. Rochester has one other representative on the Board, Regent Wade Norwood.
Most people have no idea who the New York Sate Board of Regents are or what they do. Yet, this body of individuals is responsible for making decisions that have severely impacted education throughout New York State.
Special education policy, standardized testing policy, charter school policy, teacher and administrator evaluation policy, and funding policy, for New York State, all fall under the purview of the Board of Regents. Yet, by Vice-Chancellor Coefield’s own admission, the Board of Regents exacts little to no accountability from local school district’s or school boards. However, they will withhold funding from our children in order to force compliance with their regulations.
When we talk about the failing system of education, that discussion has to include the Board of Regents. We must understand that this body enacts policy and legislation that districts are bound by and then accepts no responsibility for the unprecedented failure of education in New York State. In order to change the system of education we must change the entire system which includes the Board of Regents. Educators must conduct education not politics.
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