New York's Board of Regents sets education policy for the state. The rules and regulations it adopts have the force of law. The 17 Regents are elected to staggered five-year terms by a joint session of the state Legislature. NYSUT closely monitors the interview process used to select new Regents and to reappoint Regents to successive terms. NYSUT also maintains a voting record of each Regent on issues of importance, including private school vouchers, teacher certification requirements and high school graduation requirements.
The Regents' scope of authority, the broadest of any such body in the nation, includes public and private elementary, secondary and higher education; the licensed professions, including medicine, nursing and accounting; libraries, museums, historical societies; and public television and radio stations. The Regents also appoint the commissioner of education, who serves at their pleasure. The commissioner is the chief executive officer of the State Education Department, which is the administrative arm of the Regents, and the president of the State University of New York.
NYSUT constantly interacts with the Regents and the State Education Department on several levels and reviews and publishes fact sheets for the membership on issues being discussed by the Regents that affect NYSUT members' professional lives. NYSUT also discusses with the board and individual Regents the impact of proposals on our members and their work in the classroom. The adoption of common core standards is an example of this interactive effort. NYSUT is working to ensure that the new standards include a teachable program that results in improved student achievement.