Regents Cancelled, Budgets Gloomy, School Re-Opening In Question, Planning for an Uncertain Future

Kudos to Chancellor Rosa, Acting Commissioner Tahoe and the members of the Board of Regents; in these chaotic and stressful times they have addressed the range of troubling questions.

The detailed, very detailed, Q & A addresses most of the questions that were swirling in the education stratosphere.

All Regents examinations scheduled for June are cancelled.

 Students, who, during the June 2020 examination period would have taken one or more Regents examinations, will be exempted from passing the assessments in order to be issued a diploma.  To qualify for the exemption, students must meet one of the following eligibility requirements:

  • The student is currently enrolled in a course of study culminating in a Regents examination and will have earned credit in such course of study by the end of the 2019-20 school year; or
  • The student is in grade 7, is enrolled in a course of study culminating in a Regents examination and will have passed such course of study by the end of the 2019-20 school year; or
  • The student is currently enrolled in a course of study culminating in a Regents examination and has failed to earn credit by the end of the school year. Such student returns for summer instruction to make up the failed course and earn the course credit and is subsequently granted diploma credit in August 2020; or
  • The student was previously enrolled in the course of study leading to an applicable Regents examination, has achieved course credit, and has not yet passed the associated Regents examination but intended to take the test in June 2020 to achieve a passing score.

The guidance from State Ed includes a Q & A addressing the many, many issues that were hanging loose (See here) as well as a link to submit additional questions.

Any additional questions about the exemptions from examination requirements or the effect of such exemptions on student qualification for a diploma should be directed to

While Board of Regents/State Ed has clarified many of the outstanding issues the elephants in the room are dollars. As the budget dance was prancing towards the April 1 deadline the apocalypse descended. The process in New York State is driven by the Governor (See an earlier blog for an explanation of the arcane process). The Board of Regents asked for a $2 billion increase, the Governor offered $800 million, the final enacted budget – $0 – the same budget as last year, and, the Governor will have the authority to increase or decrease the budget, the legislature will have 10 days to turn down the Governor’s actions, highly unlikely.

The New York City budgeting process is beginning, the City Council and the Mayor usually agree on the budget by mid-June.

The Mayor released his proposal with $221 million in education reductions; the largest cut will directly impact school budgets.

The biggest single cut to the education department’s budget will take effect next fiscal year: $100 million will come out of the “fair student funding” formula, a city funding stream that directly finances school budgets and is designed to funnel more money to the highest-need schools. That represents a roughly 1.6% reduction to that funding stream.

 Additionally plans to expand the Pre-K for All (3-Year olds) will be halted, other initiatives in the Equity and Excellence agenda, including a program that pairs middle school students with one-on-one counselors, and another aimed at setting students on a path to college and a summer program that provides hands-on activities for students and visits to cultural institutions is also being scaled back.

The budget proposal also eliminates the Summer Youth Employment Program; the program, pays about 75,000 young people minimum wage for jobs at nonprofits, in government, and at private companies.

Each year the Council and the Mayor negotiate, add this, delete that, and, by mid-June a budget is agreed upon. This will be an especially trying year. The city budget must be balanced, and, if no budget is agreed upon the city cannot expend dollars; obviously there will be a budget; however, with future revenue unknown, the city budget, as the state budget, may be subject to modifications throughout the year.

I’m just off a Zoom call with a CUNY college president:  summer school could be in-person, could be online, have to plan for both; will regular classes be resumed in September?  Could the fall/winter bring another round of the virus?  We will have to plan for in-person classes and a resumption of online classes; and, the budget implications could continue to get worse.

Seders and Easter festivities at a distance, “virtual” hugs are essential …. take a deep breath, continue to exercise, yoga, eat healthy … this too will pass.

It’s time for all of us to stand together …

.Listen to Pete Seeger, “This Land is Your Land,” on January 21, 2009

One response to “Regents Cancelled, Budgets Gloomy, School Re-Opening In Question, Planning for an Uncertain Future

  1. ken karcinell

    When we talk about planning for an uncertain future, lets be clear. There is no way NYC’s 8 mil children can be sustained from an educational standpoint in an on line instructional delivery modality. The feedback and statistical information that I am getting from my Teaching Fellows who have been mandated to use Google Classroom and Zoom is such that the process is a one way street. That is to say that all of the Teachers are pro active in the process, but that the student reciprocal is at best 30%. There are any number of reasons for this disparity, but to be sure, those reason will continue to exist in Sept. So the question is whose to blame? Each of us could write an essay on that one. But here’s what I would have done. I would have enlisted cable TV to provide two channels for educational instruction on an all day daily basis, designating days of the week and time slots in those days for various instructional delivery, and time slots for grade level interest. And I would not have stressed the component of having student work folders with teacher made assignments for those work folders as an integral part of the process. I would have relegated that activity as an extra credit piece. More to the point, I would have made as much of the instruction as possible as objective as possible, with the only student assignment being some type of (one time only) On Line objective style examination. So what happens if a student misses a particular lesson. The fail safe, is built in, to the effect that after 5 PM, the days lessons are replayed til midnight, or can be recorded for playback later on. Everyone has a TV not everyone has WIFI!


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