Assembly higher education committee chair Deborah Glick said Monday's last-minute interviews of candidates for the Board of Regents are not atypical, despite the fact that the political circumstances surrounding this year's elections are much different than usual.
Reached Sunday by Capital, Glick said lawmakers would see two or three late entrants at noon on Monday, a process that takes place nearly every year. Regents board members are elected by the Legislature.
"Almost invariably someone or other—one, two, three lawmakers come up with folks and ask us to see them before we make a decision," she said. "Almost every year, there is a late entrant."
Four incumbents are up for reelection on Tuesday, and they face tough races amid controversy over the rollout of the Common Core standards.
Lawmakers have said they were unimpressed with the candidates vying to replace the sitting members. The names of the new candidates were not immediately available.
Lawmakers are unimpressed with the candidates vying to replace the sitting members?
The public is unimpressed with the current members of the Board of Regents and if the members of the legislature vote to reelect these four members tomorrow, there will be a political price to be paid for EVERY member of the legislature that votes for the incumbents.
Members of the legislature should be made aware of that fact - support members of the Board of Regents who support the state's reform agenda and there will be a political price for that support.
Same goes for supporting the state's education reform agenda.
In another article at Capital NY, Jessica Bakeman reports that members of the legislature seem to know that:
ALBANY—An unusual level of controversy over education issues at the state level has left lawmakers under election-year pressure to produce a scalp. Tuesday's elections for the State Board of Regents might be their means of doing so.
Education policy in New York is set by the board, whose members are elected by lawmakers. Four members—two at-large Regents representing the whole state, as well as regional representatives from Albany and Staten Island—are up for reelection. And although incumbents are typically reappointed without issue, this year, the races could be close.
Regents are elected during a joint session of the Legislature, which means the Assembly Democrats, which are most numerous, usually decide the contests. Assembly leaders have hinted that they will support the incumbents, as usual. But it appears that the conference will not vote in lockstep, and even if they did, they are short on votes because of several vacancies in the chamber.
Majority leader Joseph Morelle said he plans to support Wade Norwood, an at-large member who is also from Rochester. James Cottrell, another at-large member, is also up, as well as James Jackson from the Albany area and Christine Cea from Staten Island.
Some Assembly members are leaning toward unseating the Regents, with one suggesting she wouldn't vote at all. The conference needs every vote they can get to keep the Regents in their chairs. A majority of 107 votes will decide, and because of vacancies, the Assembly majority only has 99 seats.
Assembly Republicans have been especially vocal over the implementation of the Common Core, pushing for the state to withdraw from using the standards altogether. At the same time, several prominent Democrats in the State Senate have pledged to vote against the incumbent Regents, including Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins of Yonkers.
"It's important to send a message that we're paying attention and understand the important role of the Regents," Stewart-Cousins told the Westchester Journal News. "The implementation of the Common Core has been so disastrous, and I understand the anger and frustration in our communities."
Democratic senators George Latimer, Tim Kennedy, Terry Gipson and Cecilia Tkaczyk have also said they will vote for challengers but didn't specify which ones they would vote for.
A spokesman for the Senate Republicans declined to comment. As for the Independent Democratic Conference, a five-member group of breakaway Democrats who partner with the GOP to control the Senate, a spokesman said they were still reviewing Regents candidates.
I will say this - if all four incumbent Regents are reelected, the message will be sent that it is business as usual for SED and the Board of Regents.
And while members of the public have no say on the election of members of the Board of Regents, they do have a say on the election of members of the legislature.
Alas, until a couple of these politicians are taken out for supporting the CCSS and the other reforms that have gone with it, they're going to pay lip service to the concerns of the public over these issues and continue to go on business as usual.
That's why I think it is important that opponents to the CCSS and the state's education reform policy focus on a couple of politicians who support the incumbent Regents on Tuesday and make them pay a political price for that support.