Repealing the Regents


Natalie Garson, Managing Editor

On May 24, The New York State Education Department made the shocking decision to cancel the June 2022 Regents Exam in United States History and Government.

This decision was made in light of the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York on May 14. A question on the exam “has the potential to compound student trauma caused by the recent violence in Buffalo,” the Commissioner of Education of the State of New York said.

The exam was developed more than two years ago, and, at the time, was tested to ensure that the content was educationally appropriate, but the shooting in Buffalo, the Commissioner said, “has created an unexpected and unintended context for the planned assessment.”

According to the Commissioner, although the exams had already been printed and packaged, ready to be shipped to schools, the new context made it necessary to cancel the test. Because the shooting occurred so soon before the assessment’s administration date, altering the question was impossible, which forced the New York State Department of Education to cancel the exam.

The potentially triggering exam question was never released to teachers, so one Hastings history teacher, Mr. Gregory Smith, said that he cannot pass judgment on the State’s decision. “We’re kind of at their mercy, but at the end of the day, I’d like to trust that the people on the Board of Regents of New York State are making the right decision,” said Smith.

Smith also said, “I think after the initial shock and surprise, there was certainly elation from people that there was one thing we can take off of our plate to worry about this year. On the flip side, I have some students who were more disappointed because they’ve been working hard.”

Smith recognized that this year was unique because of the pandemic and teaching time lost. “It’s been a challenge to get students’ skills up to level. In addition to that, we have students that have not had a traditional high school experience.” An added challenge was the altered format of the exam.

All of these challenges, according to Smith, added to the stress of exam preparation, but, at the end of the day, he said that he thinks students were well-prepared for the exam and had worked hard in the lead-up to June 1st.

All in all, Smith said that because the course was still taught, the skills taught in it were learned just as well by the students. He doesn’t think that the cancellation of the Regents was a significant loss in students’ education and is not implementing a substitute final paper or exam instead of the Regents.