Tag Archives: Board of Regents

History In New York: Where Are We Headed?

By on


Cultural Education Center State Museum ArchivesIs New York’s “historical enterprise” really entering a new phase, as Bruce Dearstyne contends in his recent post? There certainly seems to have been some change going on in the New York State Office of Cultural Education. Perhaps most notably, New York is now employing a full-time State Historian for the first time since 1976 (not 1994, as Bruce suggests).

While this is certainly a step in the right direction, it would be naïve to allege that today’s State Historian position holds the same power and responsibility that it once did. Continue reading

Regents Makes Museum Education Act A Priority

By on

1 Comment

CapitolThe New York State Board of Regents has made the Museum Education Act (MEA) a Legislative Priority for 2016. The Act would provide museums and other eligible institutions access to grant funding to conduct curriculum-based educational programs for students and teachers in grades pre-kindergarten through grade twelve and adults enrolled in continuing education programs.

The grants are expected to be competitive in nature and could be used for a variety of curriculum-based educational programming, including funding for the transportation of students to museums or museum staff to classrooms. Continue reading

The State Historian and the Future of New York History

By on


Seal of New York StateThe position of New York State Historian was created in 1895. The Historian was appointed by the Governor until 1911, when the position was moved to the State Education Department. Since that time, it has been located in a number of offices including the Office of State History (1966-1976), and since then, in the State Museum.

State Historians’ job descriptions and priorities have varied over the years as well. The first State Historian, Hugh Hastings (1895-1907), had been a New York Times reporter and concentrated on documentary publications. The next one, Victor Hugo Paltsits (1907-1911), a librarian and expert in colonial history, was known for meticulous editing of published editions and laid the basis for expanding the position into the area of archives. Alexander C. Flick (1923-1939) edited and led the publication of a multi-volume history of the state. Louis L. Tucker (1966-1976) held the titles of State Historian and Assistant Commissioner for State History in the Office of State History and, in the early 1970’s, was also Executive Director of the New York State American Revolution Bicentennial Commission. Continue reading

Annual NYS Archives Awards Announced

By on

1 Comment

New York State Cultural Education CenterThe New York State Archives and the Archives Partnership Trust have announced the winners of the 2014 Archives Awards. These annual awards recognize the archives and records management work of individuals and organizations in New York State. Award recipients include a former member of the Board of Regents, local governments, a state agency, educators and students.

Regent Emerita Laura Chodos, under whose name three of the annual awards were given, received the 2014 William Hoyt Annual Archives Award for Advocacy. The award is named after the late Assemblyman William Hoyt from Buffalo, who was a supporter of archives and records management in New York State.  Continue reading

Size Matters: Advocating for New York History

By on

1 Comment

Since my emergency post of April 22 a lot has happened.

1. MANY/Museumwise held its annual conference
2. APHNYS held its annual conference at the same time
3. The NYS Board of Regents met
4. Gov. Cuomo created a New York Education Reform Commission
5. Gov. Cuomo’s “Path Through History” initiative scheduled a meeting for May 21

Let’s see if it is possible to make sense of some of these developments. Continue reading

Late-Breaking: Failed Tests and the NYS Regents

By on


The New York State Board of Regents will be meeting on Monday and Tuesday, April 23-24, in Albany. The meeting overlaps with the Museumwise/MANY conference in Albany which I will be attending and the Public Historians meeting in Long Island which I will not be able to attend since I already had registered for the Albany meeting. Communication and planning among the various groups leaves a lot to be desired. Continue reading

Brodsky Praises Regents Collection Sales Reform

By on


Former Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, now Senior Fellow at Demos and the Wagner School at NYU, has released the following statement in response to the New York State Board of Regents enactment of deaccessioning regulations which closely track his legislative efforts over the past ten years:

“The regulations adopt the principle that museum collection should not be monetized for the purposes of operating expenses and assert the public trust and the public interest with respect to museum collections.

This is an extraordinary moment in the cultural history of the state. The Regents, under the leadership of Merryl Tisch and Committee on Cultural Education Chairman Roger Tilles, have vindicated fundamental cultural values, and help preserve New York’s museum collections for future generations. New York is again leading the nation and the world as new economic realities endanger museum collections everywhere. Repeated attempts to deaccession collections in order to pay bills has been a painful and repeated reality. It sets forth rules that permit institutions to function but protects the public interest in collections that the public has helped assemble.

The heart of this struggle has been to prevent the selling off of collections for the purposes of operating expenses. That principle has long been asserted by the museum community itself and groups such as the American Association of Museum Directors and the Museum Association of New York, have been stalwart and uncompromising in their principled positions. This victory would not have been achieved without their leadership.

It is important to note that the regulations leave with individual museums the decision about what to collect and what to deaccession. What the regulations do is assure that the current economic crisis will not result in a massive shift of publicly accessible art into private hands.

Our legislation would have extended these principles to all New York museums. There remain a handful of legislatively chartered institutions that are not subject to Regents supervision. I urge them to explicitly adopt these principles even as the Legislature continues to consider how best to set one uniform standard for all New York museums.

New York is the cultural capital of the world. We enjoy the generosity of private donors and philanthropists, huge numbers of semi public and public institutions, and the populous that supports and enjoys its thousands of museums. This action today by the Board of Regents will assure New York’s continued leadership and preeminence. My special thanks to my colleagues Matthew Titone and Steve Englebright who continue to lead this legislative effort, to MANY Director Anne Ackerson, to Michael Botwinick, Director of the Hudson River Museum and Vice President of MANY, Regent James Dawson, the staff of the Department of Education, and to the thousands of involved and passionate New Yorkers who insisted that our collections be protected.”

A pdf pf the rule can be found here.

Illustration: Gleyna, or A View Near Ticonderoga. The 1826 Thomas Cole painting held by the Fort Ticonderoga Museum which faced the possibility of selling a portion of it’s collection in recent years.

History Canceled:Regents Eliminates History Assesments

By on


The New York State Board of Regents voted to approve two sets of strategies to achieve cost reductions in the state assessment program at its full Board meeting in Albany this week. History educators will no doubt be appalled at the elimination of 5th and 8th grade Social Studies examinations, which include the history curriculum. The two plans were laid out in a press release:

* If the State budget includes the $7 million that the Regents have requested for the assessment program, the Board approved a cost reduction of $4.25 million to be achieved through reduced reliance on educational specialists in developing tests ($1.25 million), discontinuance of paper-based scoring materials for examinations ($.60 million), elimination of component retesting for high school Math and English exams ($1.6 million), and elimination of 5th and 8th grade Social Studies examinations ($.80 million).

* If the State budget does not include the $7 million that the Regents have requested, or a final State Budget is not in place by August 1, 2010, the Board approved additional reductions of $6.1 million to further offset the deficit. These reductions would be achieved by eliminating Grade 8 second language proficiency exams ($2.0 million), eliminating August administration of Algebra II/Trigonometry and Chemistry high school Regents exams ($.8 million), eliminating all high school Foreign Language exams except for Spanish and French($1.2 million), an immediate end to translation of state assessments into Chinese, Haitian-Creole, Korean, and Russian while continuing translation into Spanish ($.75 million), and eliminating January high school Regents exams ($1.4 million).

Should additional funds be included in the P-12 budget the reductions listed last in the priority order above would be the first to be restored.

“These were tough decisions made in light of the State’s difficult financial situation” Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch said, “Foremost in our consideration was the concern we heard from stakeholders across the State that the cuts to the assessment program made to achieve savings should not have an impact on high school graduation.”

Background on these decisions was also provided in the press release, as follows:

The State Education Department’s expense to operate the assessment program continues to rise in light of the State’s fiscal crisis as a result of several factors including: inflation, the addition of examinations, increased cost of testing vendor contracts, and the need for more test security. Based on the Executive Budget, SED projects a deficit of approximately $11.5 million in available funding in 2010-11 for P-12 programs, including the assessment program. The Regents have requested $7 million in additional State funds for the assessment program from the Legislature. The State Education Department has limited ability to address the P-12 deficit by redirecting federal or state funds dedicated to specific purposes by title or statute. SED will explore further internal cost reduction strategies to eliminate the remaining deficit of $1.1 million in the P-12 budget.

Full details of the cost reduction strategies the Board of Regents approved are on the web.

A webcast of the full board meeting of the Board of Regents is also available online.