Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, April 6, 2015

Regents Chancellor Tisch Wants To Give More Time For Tests

From Jessica Bakeman at Capital NY:

ALBANY—State education officials recently considered allowing unlimited time for upcoming Common Core-aligned English language arts exams, but stakeholders shot down the idea.

Board of Regents chancellor Merryl Tisch said parents and teachers have complained that students have struggled to finish the English exams, which third through eighth graders will begin taking on April 14. So she, with the state education department, tried to gauge interest among school groups for the tests to be untimed.

“We wanted to float an idea to allow students to have more time on the E.L.A. test, because everyone was telling us the kids were feeling pressured,” Tisch told Capital. “I thought that was a way to value teachers and their discretion: let a teacher decide when a kid is working productively and give them time. The idea isn’t to play ‘gotcha’ with the students. The idea is to let students show you as much as they can. We thought it was a productive idea.

“All of a sudden people said no,” she said. “I don’t think anyone thought it was a bad idea. I just thought the politics around doing anything positive about testing became too difficult to manage.”

Actually lots of people thought it was a bad idea, including the New York State School Boards Association, NYSUT and parent activists.

NYSUT and the New York State School Boards Association both vocally support "meaningful assessment" but thought the unlimited time for testing unworkable.

Lisa Rudley sums up the argument from the perspective of many parents:

Lisa Rudley, a parent-activist who has helped organize opposition to the current testing arrangements, said Tisch’s plan shows the chancellor doesn’t understand parents’ concerns.

“Parents aren’t asking for more time,” said Rudley, who is a co-founder of New York State Allies for Public Education, a parent-led group that has encouraged the “opt out” movement. “They’re asking for less testing. They’re asking for less test-driven curricula. They’re asking for a less test-driven environment.

“The chancellor’s suggestion is completely outrageous, and it shows that she’s not listening to parents,” she said.

The line Cuomo and the state education apparatus are trying to thread with these new education reforms is that there will be less testing because the governor took away the mandated local assessment measures in the state teacher evaluation system and made state tests the sole measure of student performance (albeit, with an optional second test that has to be negotiated by districts and local unions, won't be paid for by the state and thus will likely never be given.)

But when you increase the weight of the APPR testing component the way Cuomo has, making it somewhere between 40% and 50% (we won't really know until NYSED issues the final plan in June), you increase the emphasis on testing in the system.

Seems to me Tisch is just reacting to the criticism that students don't have enough time to complete the "rigorous" Common Core tests and trying to take away some of argument against using these tests for 40%-50% of a teacher's rating by floating this plan.

A nice try, but ultimately doomed for failure.

Tisch doesn't seem to understand just how much toxicity surrounds the testing issue nor how untrusted she is by many parents and teachers.

Post-Cuomo reform budget, the impetus from many parents and teachers is to starve the state education bureaucrats of their precious testing data and put a shiv into Cuomo's APPR teacher evaluation system.

Making the tests untimed might have elicited a positive reaction from some a few years ago, but not anymore.

For many these days, the goal is the end of the Endless Testing regime, not the extension of it.


  1. Toward the end of Bloomberg, a top doe guy had wanted to be chancellor cmemyed about the lack of common sense with which some of his 'common sense' ideas were being met. Funny thing was that he had NEVER been in favor of common sense ideas in the years he was at Tweed previous to the election season. Desperate, he turned to the press to advocate for some of his (new) 'common sense' approaches. Tisch (who without question generated this piece in some way) sounds an awful lot like him here. I wonder if her position really is in immediate danger.

    1. Yes, there's an air of desperation to her using Capital NY to get this story out. Perhaps the four new Regents, along with the three who already opposed to her policies, have unsettled her. Perhaps Shelly's arrest and loss of power worries her. Perhaps she realizes how much parents and teachers do not trust her or her agenda. Perhaps it's all three. Whatever it is, I think you're right about her motivations for the piece - she's feeling desperate.

    2. Look for Tuschie to step down early citing either family--or a health problem. The uber rich get away with calling too much Xanax combined with too much vodka a health problem. Regardless, we know that Tuschies mind has been numbed, she can barely compose and speak a coherent sentence, and she never had a clue about leadership. Cuomo (Malatras) is drafting another letter to nail her down again and she will reverse herself again--give her a week! Time for her to depart--she has done great damage. Damage that may take decades to begin to overcome!

  2. To quote Tisch: "I thought that was a way to value teachers and their discretion: let a teacher decide when a kid is working productively and give them time. The idea isn’t to play ‘gotcha’ with the students."

    What a hoot! Since when has anyone in Albany "valued teachers and their discretion". What spacecraft did this woman just get off? Did she arrive here from Planet Cuomo, a place where up is down, wrong is right and hate equals love?

    And, the whole reform debacle is one big "gotcha".

    The Wall Street schemers who almost ran our nation into Great Depression 2.0 walk away free....and our government plays "gotcha" with those big, bad, middle class teachers and all our children. Yup, it's those lazy kids' fault along with their no good teachers.

    And, Tisch really wants people to believe that she is trying to HELP us? This woman is obscene. Either she's truly clueless or is insulting all of us. Either way, it's time she hit the road. Maybe she can use the new sales tax reduction on fancy yachts and sail far, far away.

    -John Ogozalek

  3. First she wants to exempt "high performing" schools from Cuomo's Folly and now more time. Ask the extended time, LD students how much of the three hours (per day) allotted they use.

    Meryl Tisch continues to try to cover her tush on education reform. Cuomo, NYSED, and Tisch have dug a hole so deep that they have no idea how to climb out. This latest idea reeks of appeasement and desperation. And it reeks of abject cluelessness. If she took a few moments to visit a struggling school next Thursday and could peer into a 7th or 8th grade testing room, she would see large numbers of students, after just 20 or 30 minutes, with heads down, dreaming about things that really matter to them.
    More time - what a joke! She is sounding more and more like the Captain pushing her troops waist deep in the Big Muddy.

  4. On second thought Meryl why not let them eat cake while testing?