Herm Card is a former teacher with more than 32 years of classroom experience and 20 years as a professional development consultant. His column appears bi-weekly in The Eagle. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"The Board of Regents was established in 1784 and is the oldest, continuous state education entity in the United States. Regents are responsible for the general supervision of all educational activities within the state, presiding over the State University of New York and the New York State Education Department," (regents.nysed.gov/members).
The state legislature appoints the 17 Regents, one from each of the state's 13 judicial districts and four members-at-large, to five-year terms. They are unsalaried, reimbursed only for travel and expenses related to their official duties.
They are truly talented individuals, men and women of accomplishment. They donate their time and effort for the good of our state. They are business and government leaders, doctors, lawyers, scientists, professors and humanitarians with accomplishments far too numerous to recount here.
But, almost hidden on their extensive resumes - pardon me - curricula vitae, is the fact that only five of the 17 people most responsible for administering the education of over 2.7 million students (540,000 per Regent) have taught in the public schools.
The Regents themselves are talented and well meaning, not to be condemned for their individual efforts. It is the Board of Regents system that needs to be condemned for its inefficiency and failure to adapt to the facts of life of public education - that education should be in the hands of educators.
Studying education, writing about education, obtaining degrees in higher education, teaching at the college level and beyond are automatic qualifiers as experts in education.
State legislators are qualified to recognize the qualities required to adequately administer the huge and often unwieldy education system in New York. (It is interesting to note that the Regents are appointed to represent judicial districts, rather than say, BOCES districts that directly relate to education.)