With 20-20 hindsight, lawmakers are asking themselves what happened during their vote to elect members to the state Board of Regents, which sets education policy.
During a rare joint session of the Legislature, Assembly members and senators on Tuesday re-elected three incumbent Regents. For the fourth seat, which had just been vacated, they chose a seeming long-shot: Sullivan County lawyer, activist, former community college instructor and website entrepreneur Josephine Victoria Finn.
Appearing before lawmakers just 24 hours earlier, Finn said she hadn't really been following the raging controversy surrounding the implementation of the new Common Core learning standards that has built unusual interest in the Regents vote.
In the hours after the vote, reports circulated that Finn operated several web ventures devoted to spirituality and weight loss, including a program in which clients could be coached by her at a cost of up to $3,600 per year.
The sites, which were marred by numerous spelling errors, were soon taken down and are now listed as being "under constructions."
Finn, whose nomination was formally introduced late last week, had prevailed over another candidate, veteran Albany school principal Maxine Fantroy Ford. And her election came as her predecessor unexpectedly resigned at the last minute.
In interviews, Finn stressed that she would educate herself about the Common Core and would be a diligent listener on education topics. She also pointed to her experience as a village judge as an asset in making decisions after hearing arguments on a given topic.
A spiritual entrepreneur with a host of websites marred by numerous spelling errors who hasn't been following the controversies over the Common Core but now will have a vote over those very controversies.
I'd say it's an amazing thing we witnessed here, with Ms. Finn being elevated to the Board of Regents here, but given how Albany works, it's really just business as usual.