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State education chancellor eyes change in H.S. diploma requirements

State education chancellor eyes change in H.S. diploma requirements

Regents elect Rosa for a second term
State education chancellor eyes change in H.S. diploma requirements
From left, Regent Andrew Brown, Education Chancellor Betty Rosa and Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia.
Photographer: Gazette file photo

ALBANY -- State Education Chancellor Betty Rosa on Monday was unanimously elected to her second three-year term chairing the Board of Regents, the state's top education policymaking body.

Rosa, during her first term at the helm, advanced changes to state education standards and testing, focused on teaching that accounts for students' cultural differences and tweaked graduation requirements

Set to start her new term next month, Rosa has signaled a desire to take on a weighty topic: a full-on reconsideration of the state's high school diploma requirements, including the five Regents exams.

Last month in a column written for On Board, a publication of the New York State School Boards Association, Rosa said she had assigned a Regents work group to study “revising New York's graduation requirements.”

One of the questions Rosa, of the Bronx, wanted tackled: “To what degree does requiring passage of Regents exams for a diploma improve student achievement, graduation rates and college readiness?”

Members of the Board of Regents, including Rosa, in recent years have expressed an interest in opening the door more widely to capstone projects -- for example, a series of scholastic achievements and accomplishments --  and student portfolios as evidence of readiness to graduate. On Monday, she said educators have long been too focused on the “Holy Grail of the Regents” exams and suggested it was time to “rethink our diploma requirements.”

“With me it's always the question what does this have to do with children,” she said after her colleagues on the board approved extending her tenure as chancellor Monday. “We will always keep that as our core mission.”

Vice Chancellor Andrew Brown of Rochester was also unanimously approved to serve another three-year term.

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