Battle to Reshape Education in New York State

The NYS Allies for Public Education endorsed Dr. Betty Rosa for Chancellor of the NYS Board of Regents and Regent Beverly Ouderkirk for Vice Chancellor. Other educational advocacy groups supporting Rosa and Ouderkirk include Class Size Matters, Long Island Opt Out, New York BATS, MORE (Movement of Radical Educators), and Save Our Schools. Rosa, who represents the Bronx on the Board of Regents, would replace Merryl Tisch who is resigning when her current term is over. Vice Chancellor Anthony Bottar is also resigning in March. A career educator, Rosa worked in the N.Y.C. school system as a bilingual paraprofessional, teacher, reading coordinator, assistant principal, principal and district superintendent. Ouderkirk currently represents the North Country on the Board of Regents. She was a kindergarten and elementary school teacher and principal as well as a district superintendent.

The Board of Regents elects the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor. The vote is scheduled for March while Tisch and Bottar are still on the Board and eligible to vote. NYS Allies for Public Education is calling on the Regents to postpone the vote to April when Tisch and Bottar's seats have been filled by other candidates.

I announced my candidacy for Tisch's at-large seat, presented my program in a Huffington Post blog, and submitted my request for consideration to the State Assembly committee. If selected by the State Legislature, I pledge to support Rosa and Ouderkirk for the Regents' executive positions.

Dr. Rosa has been a consistent critic of Common Core, high-stakes testing, and other so-called educational reforms. She is suspicious of corporate donations that end of shaping educational policy and in 2013 she charged that Common Core program was based on incomplete and manipulated data "using false information to create a crisis." Rosa and Ouderkirk are both identified with a dissident minority on the Board of Regents that opposed using student scores on high-stakes standardized tests to evaluate teachers.

I recently received an email from a retired teacher objecting to my position opposed to metal detectors in schools and concerned about my potential appointment to the New York State Board of Regents. He wrote, "There really is no racism involved in protecting all students and nobody belongs in power who cannot comprehend that we must protect all students everywhere." He wants the metal detectors to remain.

I am not accusing teachers who support metal detectors in schools of being racists and I agree with the writer that society has to protect young people. But I do equating placing metal detectors in schools attended overwhelmingly by Black and Latino youth with racial profiling and illegal "stop-and-frisk" policies. By placing metal detectors in minority schools our society conveys to students that education officials see them as threats who cannot be trusted. I strongly object to this. It is also important to note that airports authorities screen everyone, not just selected individuals.

To support my nomination to the New York State Board of Regents contact Steven McCutcheon, the State Assembly Program and Counsel Staff at