NY’s Regent exams have been administered since 1865, but this year, in light of penny pinching measures throughout the Department of Education, some of the tests may be eliminated or drastically scaled back. Next week the board of Regents may decide to trash many subject tests that measure achievement among the state’s high schoolers, including ones for foreign languages, math, science, global history, government and geography. According to the Times Union, the board may also choose to stop translating the tests, keeping Spanish, but getting rid of Chinese, Korean, Russian and Haitian Creole versions. Sources estimate the cutbacks could save $13.7 million in preparation costs.
The reductions, which may affect 13 out of 17 total subject tests, come as a surprise, since the Regents board has consistently pushed to increase mandatory testing. "Our understanding is that this is a worst-case scenario," added David Albert of the NY School Boards Association.
"It was not something I was anticipating, but when you go back and consider what the department is facing ... it's not surprising," said Robert Lowry, of the state Superintendents Council. Facing a $9 billion state deficit, Gov. Paterson’s latest budget proposal suggests $4.7 million in cuts from the Department of Education and $1.5 billion more in school aid.