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City officials pushing back against Jan. Regents exam cuts

Momentum is mounting against the state’s decision to eliminate the January administration of Regents exams required for high school graduation.

City officials have pressured the state to restore the testing period, Mayor Bloomberg said at a press conference today about the city’s graduation rate. He called the elimination of January Regents exams “a very big deal” and said restoration would cost the state only “a trivial amount of money.”

More than 100 city principals have petitioned the state to restore the testing date. At today’s press conference, principals union president Ernest Logan also emphasized the relatively low price tag of maintaining the January testing date, often used by students making a final push for graduation.

“The state — for a pittance — has decided to take away that option,” he said.

This year, Chancellor Dennis Walcott said today, 2,400 students took a Regents exam in January and then graduated — roughly the same number of students represented by this year’s graduation rate climb. “If January Regents disappear, those students unfortunately will not be able to graduate,” he said.

Also, dozens of high school principals from two Long Island counties published an open letter criticizing the change, saying it would negatively affect high-performing and struggling students alike.

Bloomberg connected the $7 million testing cut to a broader $800 million reduction in state aid to New York City’s schools this year. “That’s $800 million out of our ability to educate our kids,” he said.

“The state has got to decide — is education important or isn’t it?”

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