From the Superintendent's Seat:
Recognizing Important Supporters of Education
When most of us hear the words "New York State Regents," images immediately come to mind of either ourselves or our children sitting for a year-end exam, or worrying about the scores of one or more Regents. The New York State Board of Regents is much more than final examinations we take in high school.
Established by the New York State Legislature in 1784, the Regents of The University of the State of New York, is the longest-standing state education entity in the nation. The Board's 16 members receive no salary and are elected by the State Legislature for five-year terms. They represent each of the state's 12 judicial districts, plus four "at-large" members.
The Board of Regents states, "Our mission is to raise the knowledge, skill, and opportunity of all the people in New York." I have had the pleasure and privilege of working with several of our current Regents, and I greatly appreciate having these individuals protecting the interests of all the children. Regent Harry Phillips, 3rd and Regent Saul Cohen have both been extremely supportive of quality public education and they are very knowledgeable of all the issues and concerns that we have in our schools. A discussion of the Board of Regents is especially appropriate this month, when Education Update begins a three-part series on Arts in Education. The concept of the University of the State of New York is a broad term encompassing all the institutions, both public and private, offering education in the State, including not only schools but museums, public broadcasting, and much more. The Regents are our guardians of quality in education, and they represent every child and adult in New York State. Their responsibilities for overseeing museums and other New York cultural institutions demonstrates that the arts have always been recognized as essential to a complete education.
The breadth of subjects that the Regents oversee is remarkable. Some of the priorities that they have identified in a summary of the Board legislative proposals for 2004 are: a program to enhance and improve public libraries; the improvement of postsecondary educational programs for individuals with disabilities; a school funding plan that is targeted to raising the academic achievement of all students and closing the gaps in student performance throughout the state.
As a superintendent of a district that provides education for 6,600 students, I know the challenge of creating and administering programs that will serve each and every individual child. The Regents are striving to support and enhance the quality of educational programs and institutions that serve the over 19 million residents of New York State. I for one, want to say, "Thank you to all of them." The Board also licenses, educates, and disciplines all the licensed professions, with the exception of lawyers.#
Dr. Hankin is superintendent of Syosset Central School District. Randi Sachs is Public Information Officer of Syosset Schools.