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New York state's Department of Education. Photo: <a href="">Mike Wren</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
New York state's Department of Education. Photo: Mike Wren, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

NY GOP will no longer boycott election of new Regents

Senate Republicans say they will break a longstanding tradition of boycotting the election of new member of New York's board of Regents, the group responsible for the general supervision of education in the state. The Republicans 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.

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Reported by

Karen DeWitt
NYS Capitol Correspondent

Senate Education Chair John Flanagan says there's  a "strong feeling" among Republican senators that not enough has been done, "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 federal government recently granted the state of California permission for an exemption of some of the Common Core requirements.

"What happened in California should be the clarion wakeup 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, Gov. Andrew 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 eight 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.

Sen. 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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