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The ball is now in the regents' hands

Friday, March 14, 2014 - Updated: 7:05 AM

Never mind the Legislature's vote this week to fill four seats on the Board of Regents. What New Yorkers want to know is this: Will the board uphold high standards -- and hold teachers accountable?

Incumbents won three of the seats. But Regent James Jackson quit at the last minute, presumably because he lacked sufficient support. The winner, Josephine Finn, is a lawyer who runs spiritual Web sites and who was asked to run only days ago, well past the Jan. 31 deadline.

Such turmoil is unusual for the Regents. Because the Legislature votes as a whole, and because Democrats account for most of its seats, this usually means Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver picks the winner. But this year, lawmakers sought to pander to critics of the new Common Core standards -- the teachers unions and parents whose kids did poorly.

As just one of 17 regents, Finn is not likely to change things much. But pressure on the board isn't likely to abate, either.

Bottom line: If the Common Core rollout was flawed, as foes charge, it's the Regents' duty to ensure fixes. But they must also keep in mind they cannot please their loudest critics. Because the teachers union, in particular, won't abide any regimen whereby teachers are held accountable -- especially if standards and expectations are high, as they are under the Common Core.

Sure, the pandering by Republicans and Democrats alike was repugnant. But the ball is now in the Regents' hands. We urge them to resist any watering down of standards.

-- The New York Post

     

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