Description of New York's Education System
The Board of Regents and the Commissioner of Education
The Board of Regents sets overall education policy for the State of New York and heads The University of the State of New York (USNY). While USNY has one main purpose - providing knowledge and skills to all - it carries this policy out in many ways.
The Board of Regents includes 17 members elected by the State Legislature for five-year terms. Thirteen of the Regents represent the State's 13 judicial districts, one from each district, and four are at-large. (Judicial District III is currently vacant). The Regents serve without salary.
The Regents choose a Commissioner of Education who heads The State Education Department and also serves as the President of the University of the State of New York. Generally, the Regents set policy while the Commissioner has responsibility for carrying out policy.
The University of the State of New York (USNY) is the most complete, interconnected system of educational services in the United States. USNY includes:
- More than 7,000 public and private elementary and secondary schools;
- 248 public and private colleges and universities;
- 251 proprietary (for-profit) schools;
- Nearly 7,000 libraries;
- 750 museums;
- The State Archives;
- Vocational rehabilitation and other services for adults with disabilities;
- Special education services for pre-school and school-age children and teenagers;
- A School for the Blind;
- A School for the Deaf;
- 25 public broadcasting facilities, including seven public television stations;
- More than 750,000 professionals practicing in 48 licensed professions, including, for example, pharmacy, architecture, accounting, and nursing; and
- 240,000 certified public school teachers, counselors, and administrators.
Commissioners of Education
Andrew S. Draper, 1904-13
John H. Finley, 1913-21
Frank P. Graves, 1921-40
Ernest E. Cole, 1940-42
George D. Stoddard, 1942-45
Francis T. Spaulding, 1946-50
Lewis A. Wilson, 1950-55
James E. Allen, Jr., 1955-69
Ewald Nyquist, 1969-76
Gordon M. Ambach, 1977-87
Thomas Sobol, 1987-95
Richard P. Mills, 1995- 2009