Dear Commons Community,
Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, New York’s top education policymaker and an ardent supporter of the Common Core national academic standards, announced on Monday that she will step down in March to help free New York from a “quagmire” of unpopular testing and teacher evaluation requirements. As reported by Newsday:
“Tisch has headed the 17-member Board of Regents for the past seven years, confirmed what colleagues had speculated about for months — that she would not seek to retain the chancellor’s job or be re-elected to the board. Her five-year term ends April 1.
“At the heart of successful reform is the ability to admit mistakes and make adjustments,” Tisch said as she met first with fellow Regents in Albany to announce her planned departure and then with reporters. “Let’s show the state a way out of the quagmire.”
A Regent for nearly 20 years and a member of one of New York’s most prominent philanthropic families, Tisch became best-known in 2013 as a defender of increasingly unpopular education reforms. She and then-Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. were confronted by angry parents and teachers at a series of tumultuous public forums. At times, they were shouted down.
The state’s most unpopular move, one encouraged by federal authorities, was to link student scores on challenging new tests to teachers’ job evaluations. In April, more than 200,000 students statewide in grades three through eight, including more than 70,000 on the Island, were pulled out of state English and math exams by their parents — the largest such boycott in the nation.
The grassroots revolt against testing — or the opt-out movement, as it is known — has built steadily since the 2012-13 school year, coinciding with the expansion of Common Core-based curriculums in New York’s 700-plus school districts.
In recent months, Tisch and other state education officials attempted to quiet public unrest — for example, by switching test-production companies and announcing that next spring’s exams would be shorter.”
Tisch was basically a good Regent except that she failed to see the tide turn against standardized testing and became overly committed to the test policies forced upon the states by the US Department of Education.