Research


New York State Education Dept. Commissioner's Constitutional Convention Files

Held by the New York State Archives


Overview of the Records

Repository:

New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

Summary:
This series documents the activities of Commisisoner James E. Allen in preparation for and during the 1967 New York State Constitutional Convention. Records include correspondence; reports; press releases; pamphlets; clippings; testimony; and publications of the Board of Regents and the Temporary State Commission on the Constitutional Convention. Correspondence and official position statements discuss impact of recent federal programs on education and local and state attempts to bolster existing state education infrastructure. Also included is a copy of the 1967 State Constitution.
Creator:
Title:
Quantity:
1 cubic foot of textual records.
Inclusive Dates:
1958-1968
Series Number:
B0464
Sponsor:
This description was enhanced as part of the States' Impact on Federal Education Policy Project (SIFEPP) in February 2006. The New York Community Trust - Wallace Special Projects Fund provided funding for this project.

Arrangement

By subject, then reverse chronological order

Scope and Content Note

This series documents the activities of James E. Allen, Jr. (1911-1971), New York State Commissioner of Education (1955-1969) in preparation for and during the 1967 New York State Constitutional Convention. Records include correspondence; reports; press releases; pamphlets; clippings; copies of testimony before Constitutional Convention Committees; and copies of publications of the Board of Regents and the Temporary State Commission on the Constitutional Convention. Copies of the 1967 New York State Constitution, which was not approved by voters, are also included. Correspondence and official position statements indicate the effects which theretofore recent federal programs such as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 were having on education policy and practice. Records also reflect local and state attempts to bolster existing state education infrastructure which was seen, in some cases, to have diminished the need in New York State for certain federal actions.

The records fall generally into three timeframes: before the convention when position statements were being discussed and developed; the early committee and subcommittee hearings stage when testimony was being researched, written and presented; and the later, full-convention stage after the committees had written their designated Articles. During this final stage various groups were reacting to the wording of the proposed Constitution, especially the Education Article, and advocating changes to be made before final approval, or indicating intension to support or oppose ratification.

The bulk of the records relate to the preparation stage, and reflect input from the major education stake-holders in New York State in advance of both the sixteen part publication series from the Temporary State Commission and the May 1967 Regents' publication, "Position of the State Board of Regents with respect to Certain Basic Issues in Education Before the 1967 Constitutional Convention of the State of New York." Copies of those publications are also included.

Records created during the early stage of the convention include correspondence with convention delegates; drafts and copies of testimony given before committees by the Commissioner and other Education Department personnel; and statements, testimony, and correspondence from various education organizations.

Records from the later stage of the convention chiefly contain reactions to the wording chosen by the Constitutional Convention Committee on Education and statements indicating the intention to advocate for change, support, or oppose the 1967 Education Article (Article IX) and ultimately, the proposed Constitution. Also included are Education Department estimates (Box 1, Folder 8) of the cost of education programs which would be borne by New York State taxpayers should the Constitution be adopted in that form.

Issues addressed in the record series include: the role of the local, state and federal governments in education; the name, organization and authority of the University of the State of New York; the absence of executive interaction in the election of the Board of Regents and the appointment of the Commissioner of Education by the Regents; the subordination of the State University of New York under the Education Department versus under the University of the State of New York (as is true for the rest of the colleges and universities in the state); taxation and spending limits imposed on school districts by the 1938 Constitution; Education Department staff's concerns school financing changes contained in Article XII, Sections 4, 5, 8 & 15 (Box 1, Folder 4). Also reflected in the series is the desire of most correspondents to protect the Education Article (Article XI) from the addition of the level of statutory law included in other articles of the 1938 Constitution.

Perhaps the most contentious issue discussed in this series, and a major reason for the 1967 Constitution's failure to win voter approval, is the so-called "Blaine Amendment" (Article XI, Section 3) of the 1938 Constitution which specified that state aid could not be used to support "denominational" schools.

Records that are particularly noteworthy for their reflection of New York State Education Department policy include statements and/or testimony provided by the Board of Regents or Commissioner Allen to The Constitutional Convention Education Committee on June 15, 1967 (Box 1, Folders 6 and 18); Committee on Local Government and Home Rule on June 14, 1967 (Box 1, Folder 7); and the Committee on Intergovernmental Relations on May 17, 1967 (Box 1, Folders 8 and 20). Records illustrative of state laws impacting education include a letter citing specific statutes or regulations governing the Education Department and/or academic institutions in New York State requested by the Convention President and provided by Commissioner Allen (Box 1, Folder 7); a thirteen page statement of requirements in law placed on schools prepared in November of 1964 (Box 1, Folder 8); and a chart of "Constitutional Limitations on Real Property Taxes by Type of Municipality in New York State" (Box 1, Folder 7).

This series also includes correspondence and/or official statements and testimony from additional New York State Education Department staff; presidents of several New York State colleges and universities; former United States Commissioner of Education, Francis Keppel; various education organizations and associations including the New York State Teachers Association, the State Council of Superintendents, the New York State Catholic Welfare Committee, and the Association of Orthodox Jewish Teachers; and elected delegates to the 1967 Constitutional Convention.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions regarding access to or use of this series.

Related Information

Related Materials

Series B1060 Commissioner's Speech Files, 1951-1977, contains related records

Series 17265 University of the State of New York Board of Regents Meeting Files, 1970-1991, includes audio tapes of meetings regarding the 1967 Constitutional Convention. Series/accretion 15080-77, Commissioner's Subject Files, 1955-1969, contains additional records of Commissioner James E. Allen, Jr. See also, Henrik N. Dullea, Charter Revision in the Empire State: The Politics of New York's 1967 Constitutional Convention. Albany: Rockefeller Institute Press, 1997.

Processing Information

This collection was physically processed in May 1984 and a preliminary description written in January 1990. This description was enhanced as part of the States' Impact on Federal Education Policy Project (SIFEPP) in February 2006. The New York Community Trust - Wallace Special Projects Fund provided funding for this project.

Access Terms

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Geographic Name(s):
Subject(s):
Genre(s):
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Detailed Description

Dates Contents Box Folder
1967 [Constitution Material - Commissioner Allen] 1 1
1967 September 26-1968 March Constitutional Convention - General Post - Convention & Consideration of Proposed New Constitution 1 2
1967 September Proposed Constitution Submitted by Constitutional Convention 1 3
1967 September Proposed Constitution Submitted by Constitutional Convention - Sept. 1967 (to adjournment of Conv.) 1 4
1967 August Constitutional Convention - General 1 5
1967 July Constitutional Convention - General 1 6
1967 June Constitutional Convention - General 1 7
1967 May Constitutional Convention - General 1 8
1967 January-April Constitutional Convention - General 1 9
1965 December-1966 December Constitutional Convention - General 1 10
1967 May 26 ConCon - Regents Position Paper 1 11
1967 May 26 ConCon - Regents Position Paper Background Correspondence 1 12
1967 March 23 Comr. Allen Paper "Certain Basic Issues in Education Expected to Come Before the 2967 Con. Con. Of the State of N.Y." 1 13
1967 Dept. publication "Vistas on the 1967 Constitutional Convention of New York State" & Teachers' Guide for using it 1 14
1966 August Comr. Allen paper "The Regents & the 1967 State Constitutional Convention" 1 15
1966 Dept. publication - "Education & the 1967 Constitutional Convention" 1966 (Arvid Burke paper) 1 16
1966 September "Increasing the Effectiveness of Educ. Government in NYS" - 92nd Convocation Address 1 17
1967 June 15 Hearing - Education Committee 1 18
1967 May 22 Hearing - Education Committee 1 19
1967 May 17 Hearing - Intergovernmental Relations Committee 1 20
1966 September-1967 February Comr. Allen's speeches re ConCon - 9/66, 10/66, 2/67 1 21
1967 Cross Referencing List of matls. In General ConCon folders with specific subjects 1 22
1966-1967 Delegates (List) & Committees 1 23
1966-1967 Temporary Commission Publications [Folder 1 of 4] 1 24
1967 Temporary Commission Publications [Folder 2 of 4] 1 25
1967 Temporary Commission Publications [Folder 3 of 4] 1 26
1967 Temporary Commission Publications [Folder 4 of 4] 1 27
1966-1967 NYSSBA Const. Conv. Reporter #1-23 1 28
1967 NYSTA Const. Conv. Bulletin #2-8 1 29
1966 September 21 Speeches Made at 1966 Convocation, re Constitutional Convention 1 30