News & Press: Newswire

July 15, 2019 Board of Regents Meeting Recap

Wednesday, July 17, 2019  

Board of Regents Recap: Review of Diploma Requirements, Anti-vaccination Protests, and Commissioner Elia’s Resignation

When the Board Of Regents gathered on July 15 for their monthly meeting, it quickly became clear that it wasn’t going to be a typical meeting. The audience erupted in protests and many left the room to discuss their concerns with the Executive Deputy Commissioner. The Regents mentioned they have not been involved with the creation of a new law requiring vaccines for all children. Regent Collins refocused the meeting by discussing the parent project in the Buffalo area and the importance of parents as partners in education.

The Chancellor, Commissioner, and Assistant Commissioner Wilkins discussed a new project beginning in September 2019 to review diploma requirements. A Blue Ribbon Commission will address what students should know and be able to do to graduate and be prepared for life in the 21st century. To what extent is civic engagement a part of what students should know or be able to do when they graduate? Regent Reyes said that opportunity to learn must be part of the conversation. The Department expects to have the work completed in a year. Regent Johnson discussed a possible shift in education ending at high school to a concept of life long learning and said that more time would likely be needed. The Department will create a working stakeholder group with overlap to commission membership including: current or recent parents, students, educators, researchers, advocates, higher education and business leaders.

Brian Cechnicki provided the Regents an update on ESSA financial reporting, thanking organizations like ASBO for their feedback throughout the process. He noted that there are more than 100 responses so far. Today is the last day for the survey. ASBO has an ESSA recommendations page that includes 16 suggestions. To share ASBO recommendations, visit our ESSA recommendations page, click the "copy recommendation below" button, and the text will be copied to your clipboard to paste into the survey.

Commissioner Elia surprised the Regents and observers by announcing her resignation effective August 31. Executive Deputy Commissioner Beth Berlin will serve as Acting Commissioner effective September 1.