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Long IslandPolitics

Lawmakers: 4 Regents could be ousted over Common Core

Students take notes during a lecture on May

Students take notes during a lecture on May 1, 2013. Credit: Heather Walsh

ALBANY -- Rank-and-file state legislators said Friday that four incumbent Regents could be ousted if the state's education policymaking board doesn't act quickly to address Common Core academic standards, which have stirred controversy across New York.

Typically, Regents are reappointed to their unpaid positions as long as they want to continue serving.

But lawmakers, who control appointments, said there is a growing sentiment to oppose four incumbents if they don't respond to complaints from parents and teachers. Four of the 16 Regents are up for re-election in March.

"This is real. This will be a year unlike any other," said Assemb. Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor). "Both sides of the aisle have frustration with the Regents. It's not going to be routine. I think their re-election is anything but a foregone conclusion."

Assemb. Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst) said legislators want to know where incumbent Regents stand on Common Core "and what can we expect from them down the road" if they are reappointed.

The Regents are under increasing pressure to tackle Common Core discontent. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo backs the standards but has called implementation "flawed" and on Friday appointed a panel to review the issue.

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate co-leaders Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) and Jeff Klein (D-Bronx) have vowed to delay the Common Core for at least two years if the Regents don't. Currently, the high school class of 2017 would be the first to have to pass high school graduation exams based on the Common Core.This year, two at-large Regent seats are up for election, as well as Albany- and Staten Island-based seats. Roger Tilles, the Long Island representative on the board, is not up for re-election.

Republicans, outnumbered 132-69 in the combined houses of the Legislature, know they can't sway the vote, but say they are trying to raise awareness.

"There's a huge amount of interest in the process this year whereas in the past there normally wasn't," said Assemb. Edward Ra (R-Franklin Square), the ranking Republican on the Assembly Education Committee. "This will not be the same, run-of-the-mill process."


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