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On Rosa’s first day as Regents chief, she signals a shift to a slower pace of change

Albany statehouse.
Albany statehouse.
Creative Commons, courtesy JasonParis

Betty Rosa wants to take things slow.

In her first meeting as the state’s top education policymaker on Monday, Rosa made clear that she wants to move deliberately to improve state policy. And to figure out how, she will do what the governor and other New York education officials have recently done: appoint a group to study the issues.

The workgroup, which Rosa created in her first act as chancellor of the Board of Regents, will likely start by analyzing the Common Core standards, the state’s teacher evaluations, and its state tests. The State Education Department, which the Regents oversees, is planning to overhaul all three in the next several years.

Rosa said another working group was necessary to make sure major policy decisions were informed by expert knowledge. But it also continues to send a message to parents and educators frustrated by the fast pace of education-policy change in recent years under Rosa’s predecessor, Merryl Tisch, that the state won’t be making dramatic changes in the short term.

“We want to make sure that we support each other and base our decisions on the research,” Rosa told reporters.

Her announcement came as state officials presented their own multi-year timeline for revamping standards, assessments, and evaluations on Monday. A committee will begin discussing a new teacher evaluation system next spring, which would go into effect in 2019.

Rosa’s research workgroup is meant to compliment that process and lend support to the other committees, the chancellor said.

“It’s the answer to the question often raised by the public, ‘How did you arrive at this policy?’” said Regent Judith Johnson, who will run the workgroup. “And so we need to be able to answer it.”

Rosa also signaled a desire to keep a lower profile, after making headlines in her first press conference as chancellor-elect by saying she would opt her own children out of state tests.

“You haven’t heard my voice throughout this whole process other than that first meeting,” Rosa said. “I’d like us to get back to conversations of teaching and learning.”

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