Students Rejoice: NY Budget Squeeze May Imperil State Regents Exams


barronsNew York State’s fiscal crisis may force the State Board of Regents to eliminate 13 of 17 Regents exams, raising serious questions about how student achievement would be measured.

They have long been a staple in classrooms throughout New York City and the state – millions of students taking regents exams to test their proficiency in everything from reading and math to science and foreign languages.

But the state budget deficit may force the Board of Regents to eliminate many of the tests.

Students are divided about whether it’s wise to stop the tests.

“Well, I don’t think it right because like preparing for those tests like help me get smarter,” said LaGuardia High School 11th grader Martine Sainvino.

“I think it would be good,” added 12th grader Ashley Gonzalez. “Yeah, make it easier, less studying and stuff.”

“You know some kids would just be so excited about not taking tests at all, but truthfully the Regents help a lot because they help us study,” 11th grader Yolette Josey said.

John King, a senior deputy in the State Department of Education, said: “In light of the ongoing and significant fiscal challenges facing the Department, we are asking the Regents to prepare for all contingencies.”

The Regents estimate they could save $13.7 million by eliminating 13 of 17 tests including:

* Three of the four science exams

* Two of the three math exams

* All high school foreign language exams

* Social studies in fifth and eight grades

* And two high school social studies tests

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said testing is important because that’s the way to raise standards.

“Keep in mind the amount on money they talk about saving is trivial compared to the amount of money on education,” Bloomberg said. “When times are tough that is when you want to measure more.”

Sources told CBS 2 HD the Regents won’t make a final decision about eliminating the exams for several months. They want to see how badly the governor cuts their budget.

The Regent said they can also save money by eliminating paper-based scoring materials. They want to post answer keys and training materials on the Web and let the schools download them.

{WCBS-TV/Noam Newscenter}