NYSSBA Poll: Two-thirds of school board members favor easing special ed graduation requirements

FOR RELEASE: February 20, 2018


CONTACT: Al Marlin
(518) 783-3723 or (518) 527-6933  cell



Nearly two-thirds of school board members responding to a recent online poll favor a Board of Regents proposal to allow students with disabilities to earn local diplomas without passing English language arts and/or math Regents exams as long as their superintendent determines they have otherwise demonstrated proficiency in those subjects, according to the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA).

Of the 507 poll respondents, 64 percent are in favor of the proposal, compared with 18 percent who are not in favor and 18 percent who are not sure.

The Board of Regents adopted the regulation change as an emergency measure at its December meeting – then again at its February meeting –  for students seeking to graduate in January 2018 and thereafter. The Regents are scheduled to vote whether to make this proposal permanent at their April meeting.

"The majority of board members responding to this poll recognize that some students with disabilities who are unable to demonstrate proficiency on state assessments might need encouragement and a helping hand -- a safety net," said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer.

The poll also asked school board members about the impact the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) repeal of net neutrality will have on schools in their district. Forty percent of respondents believe the repeal of net neutrality would have a "mostly negative" impact on schools, compared to 40 percent who were not sure. Seventeen percent believed it would have no impact, while only 3 percent said the impact would be "mostly positive."

Net neutrality is the idea that all traffic on the Internet should be treated equally. That means internet service providers can't block or slow down web-based services or force content providers to pay an additional fee to deliver their content to customers faster.

The poll also asked school board members about the impact a $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions in the federal tax reform law would have on their school districts’ budgets this year. Forty-seven percent of those polled think it will make passage more difficult, while 36 percent believe it will have little or no impact on budget passage. Only 1 percent said it would make budget passage less difficult, while 15 percent were not sure.

The poll is not a scientific sampling of school board members nor do the poll results represent official positions of the New York State School Boards Association. 



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