Senate Passes Bill Reforming the Board of Regents Selection Process

March 14, 2014

The New York Senate this week passed legislation to dramatically reform the selection process for the state Board of Regents to better reflect the population of the entire state. The bill (S2031A), sponsored by Senator Kenneth LaValle (R-C-I, Port Jefferson), establishes a more equitable and balanced appointment process for the selection of the Board of Regents, who are charged with setting education policy in New York. 

Under the bill, the appointment of the 17 Regents would take place as follows: eight to be chosen by the Governor; three by the Majority Leader of the Senate; three by the Speaker of the Assembly; one each by the Minority Leaders of the Senate and Assembly; and one appointment to be selected on a rotating basis by the Governor, Majority Leader and Speaker.

The existing selection of Regents requires confirmation by a majority vote of all 213 members of the Legislature, giving the Assembly’s Democrat majority virtual control over the selection of Regents.

On Tuesday, a joint legislative session to fill four regents vacancies demonstrated the flaws in the current process. In a controversial vote and over the objections of Senate Republicans, educators, parents, and students across the state, the Assembly’s Democrat majority reelected three Regents who were partly responsible for the disastrous implementation of Common Core. 

“We just went through a process that made very little sense - selecting incumbents who were responsible for one of the biggest education fiascoes that anyone can remember,” Senator LaValle said. “The vote by the Democrat Majority in the Assembly is puzzling given the tremendous outcry on the Common Core Curriculum. Parents, teachers and administrators have told members of the Legislature repeatedly that the Common Core Curriculum thrust upon them by the Regents is having a harmful effect on the children of our state. Change is imperative and the Legislature must alter the process to ensure there is greater responsibility and accountability to parents and children.”

The bill makes the selection of regents more open and inclusive. It opens up Regents membership to more worthy candidates by giving appointment authority to the Governor and the majority and the minority leaders of the Senate and Assembly. 

The bill will be sent to the Assembly.