BUFFALO, NY - State Assemblyman Sean Ryan wants the state education department to grant a makeup for kids who missed their regents tests this week when schools were closed with the wind chill weather. But the state official in charge of that testing is already responding that it would just cost too much for taxpayers.
Ryan points out that some districts shut down earlier this week with the bitter cold wind chills and that shut out hundreds of students in those districts like West Seneca who wanted to take the Regents this week. He says they must now wait to take them in June. He says that could have a particular impact on seniors who will only have that one shot to p;ass them in the summer.
Ryan wrote a letter to State Education Commissioner John King requesting the make-up exams and back-up plan for future years and some local educators joined him at his press conference to show their support. And he chided them for what he feels to be their lack of understanding of what happened with the weather. "This is January in Western New York. Commissioner King and the bureaucrats at State Ed, they should have realized before now that there's a possibility for the weather emergency. So we're asking Commissioner King to schedule these exams immediately."
But we also heard back from the State Education official who is in charge of testing. Deputy Education Commissioner Ken Wagner who is in charge of Curriculum, Assessments, and Technology for the department says "We're not turning a deaf ear. As I mentioned students have multiple opportunities over the course of the year to take Regents exams. We just have to weigh the opportunities for makeups with the costs to the taxpayer. Different communities could have storms on different days and we just don't have the resources to offer additional makeup opportunities other than the opportunities in January, June, and August."
Ryan says if the state education department does not heed his request, he will introduce legislation to require that a back-up plan for make-up of the tests be put into effect for future years. Wagner says the legislature would have to fund such a plan. State Regent Robert Bennett agrees that there would be a significant cost for a make-up exam.