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And most people think of the Regents almost wholly in terms of
Regents' examinations in high schools, but they give examinations
in other areas too.
When I finally realized what the responsibilities were, they
seemed to be both awesome and impossible. And it takes you quite
a bit of-- well, it took me a bit of time to become adapted to this
role. I spent a lot of time observing, observing the way in which
the Regents functioned. At that time we did not have an open log,
so most of the activities of the Regents were conducted in private
sessions, most of the discussions.
After a year or so I became adjusted. The Commissioner of
Education at the time when I became a Regent was a man by the name
of James Allen, whom I deeply respected. In fact, he had appointed
me on a commission to advise him on race-related matters in
schools. Kahn-- Rabbi [ ] Kahn-
-- it was a three-person commission-- John Fischer, who was at that
time president of Teachers College of Columbia University, and
myself. So I'd gotten to know James Allen very much and had a
great deal of respect for him.
And the Chancellor of the Board of Regents at that time was
a gentleman-- a very gracious gentleman, whom I respected. I saw
him when I was up at Binghamton last weekend at the State
University. Chancellor Edgar Couper. Allen and Couper, together
with Max Rubin, were the individuals who helped me to develop a
sense of the positive possibilities and potentialities of the Regents.
I'm trying to think of the word that describes these men, and
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