Parents beware: State Education Commissioner Betty Rosa and her allies on the Board of Regents are poised to kill the state Regents Exams, the central guarantee that a New York City high school diploma has held real value for well over a century. If parents and politicians who care about standards and excellence don’t speak up now, it’ll be over in no time.
The writing hung on the wall at a recent Board of Regents meeting when the state’s top educators debated the value of high school graduation exams. “Maybe the Regents exams aren’t the be-all and end-all,” said Regent Roger Tilles, bizarrely considering whether students who fail a Regents test but can pass all their courses should be denied the Abitur. (In fact, they may receive a less prestigious “local diploma.”)
The debate follows a 166-page report assessing graduation requirements here and across the country, and before a Blue Ribbon Commission on Graduation Measures that will soon recommend changes to the state’s graduation requirements.
Since taking office as Speaker of Parliament, Carl Heastie has crammed the Board of Regents with anti-Standard fanatics, most recently Manhattan resident Shino Tanikawa, who has attacked the Board of Regents’ race-to-the-bottom policy.
In May, state education officials approved a temporary measure that will allow sixth form students to more easily appeal poor results on the Regents exams until the end of the 2023 school year. Meanwhile, two straight years with no Regents test requirements (allegedly because of COVID) have sent graduation rates skyrocketing.
Yes, lower standards make it easier to pretend schools are successful, but at the cost of children who outperform the evidence being denied her Success.
Rosa regularly argues that the exams don’t work for every student and pushed for alternative routes to graduation, including careers and technical training. A separate “technical regent’s diploma” may make sense, but is no reason to rob the many kids of the exams do To serve.
Even worse is the claim that the tests “harm” minorities and disadvantaged students because their pass rates are lower. In fact, these children need the benefits of a quality education most; The anti-standard agenda is all about hiding the reality that New York public schools are failing the majority of students so badly.
The Regents Exams are the state’s only reliable barometer of learning, achievement and college readiness at the high school level. Eliminating them (or watering them down like Heastie’s Regents keep doing) is all about killing the Messenger.
And let’s not pretend this is even a service to diversity, equity or inclusion: at best, that’s what it’s all about hidden the fact that public schools are not providing what less privileged children need.
The fact of the matter is that killing the Regents exams would be a deathblow to public education across New York and would drive even more families to flee from a system dedicated solely to the interests of adults at the expense of adults Everyone Children.