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BOR Meeting Covers Regents Reform Agenda, ESEA Flexibility Renewal, Transgender Students

SED-BORThe New York State Board of Regents convened on July 20 for their monthly meeting. The public portion of the meeting was abbreviated so that board members and the SED leadership team could meet in “retreat” for the balance of the day and for the following day.

The Regents Reform Agenda – At the opening full-board meeting, Elizabeth Berlin presented an Update on the Regents Reform Agenda. Click here to read the full presentation. During the course of the presentation Commissioner Elia interjected relevant thoughts and information, including the following:

  • She was pleased with the improving high school graduation rate, but noted the continuing needs of high need and large urban school districts.
  • In regard to college and career readiness, the continuing  need for professional development for all educators was highlighted and the implementation of multiple pathways to high school graduation.
  • The commissioner also indicated the need to review the common core standards and common core-aligned tests; and to better communicate with educators, parents, and the general public about “what has been done and next steps.”
  • In regard to APPR, Commissioner Ilia indicated that many changes occurred in a short period, and that there is a need to review and improve the system – to improve classroom practice.

Regent Cashin and Regent Johnson expressed support of the commissioner’s intention to review common core standards – and the common core-aligned tests. She and Regent Rosa also stressed the need for appropriate time and program adjustments for subpopulations of students, such as students with disabilities and English language learners.

Regent Young raised attention regarding the adjustment to the “aspirational” performance requirement on Regents examinations (equating to 75/80) by 2022. He asked for data detailing changes in student performance over the past five years. He was joined by Regent Tilles in expressing concern that the current method by which students are determined to perform at level 3 (equating to 65), does not provide an adequate basis for monitoring student performance on a year-to-year basis.

ESEA Flexibility Renewal Waiver – Assistant Commissioner Ira Schwartz presented an action item for revisions of §100.18 of regulations that are necessary for the implementation of New York State’s ESEA Renewal Waiver. The USDOE approved New York State’s waiver application last week, for a four-year period.  Regulatory revisions regarding receivership (for Struggling Schools and Persistently Struggling Schools) received the most attention from Board members. Regent Young sought confirmation from SED that the receivership approach would be evaluated by SED, and Regent Johnson recommended that the evaluation methodology be determined soon in order to ensure that necessary data are available and collected. The assistant commissioner confirmed that an evaluation of the intervention model will be completed. The last comment on this item came from Regent Chin, who expressed concern regarding the willingness of experienced teachers to go to or stay in a Struggling School or Persistently Struggling School. She expressed that there is no “incentive” for teachers and is concerned that such school may not have sufficient capacity in regard to long-term experienced teachers.

Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students – The board unanimously approved the New York State Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students Guidance Document. The news release was issued by SED shortly after the meeting and includes quotes of support from several education organizations, including SAANYS.  Click here to read the full news release.

We hope that you will find this information helpful. We will continue to keep you updated. All the best. …Jim Viola