ALBANY—State Board of Regents chancellor Merryl Tisch won't “dignify” a response to whether she supports state education commissioner John King, calling a statewide teachers' union's plan to take a no-confidence vote against him “politics” and a “sideshow.”
At a Regents meeting in Albany on Monday, Tisch said that New York State United Teachers president Richard Iannuzzi's push for the vote is a distraction from the work the Education Department is doing to support implementation of the rigorous new Common Core curriculum standards.
Asked three times whether she and the other Regents support King, Tisch refused to respond directly.
“The politics of education are different than the practical nature of what needs to be done right now,” Tisch said. “We all know that there is a huge challenge to get all of our classrooms, all of our teachers, all of our school districts up and ready to implement Common Core. We have said over and over again that the rollout has been uneven. And rather than dwell on the politics and the personalization of, ‘they should have done this, he should have said that,’ I really want to say that we need to talk about education; education competencies, educational drive, educational ambition. We need to be ambitious for every student and every teacher and every classroom in this state. And I don’t like the politics of this personalization, and I won't be drawn in it.
“With the exception of conversations that focus on instruction and curriculum and the appropriate implementation of Common Core, professional development of teachers, everything else is a sideshow,” she finished.
Okay, I know that she's trying to play like she's above the "politics" (which is horse hockey, of course, since she has her position as Regents chancellor largely as a matter of politics - Shelly Silver put his good friend Merryl Tisch there.)
Still, I can't help but notice that she managed to avoid backing NYSED Commissioner King.
Dunno about you, but if someone I supported was being targeted by a group with a "no-confidence" vote and I was asked publicly as a colleague of that person whether I supported him or not, I would have said something along the lines of "I know that the roll-out of the reforms has been uneven, we're all finding the CCSS challenging, but I think my colleague at SED has done a terrific job handling a very difficult endeavor blah blah blah."
She never said anything like that about John King.
Her failure to do so says a lot.