Tisch was appointed to the Board of Regents, which presides over the state Education Department, on April 1, 1996 — almost 20 years ago. She became vice chancellor in 2007, then chancellor in 2009, serving in that position ever since.
Upon taking the Regents helm, Tisch promised, “We will embrace innovation with a data-driven approach . . . to raise test scores, raise graduation rates, and finally close the achievement gap.”
By her own measures — and she’s had plenty of time to prove the wisdom of her approach — Tisch has fallen far short. Last month, statewide test scores showed a mere 31.3% of students proficient in English Language Arts and 38.1% in math on the tough, relatively new Common Core-aligned tests.
In June 2012, Tisch bemoaned that “nearly a quarter of our students still don’t graduate after four years.” That is still the case. For students taking up to five years to complete high school, the 2010 graduation rate stood at 77%. Today it is 76.4%.
Meantime, the achievement gap persists. Four-year graduation rates for 2010 and 2014 — one of the best apples-to-apples indicators we have — show exactly the same 25 percentage point difference between black and Hispanic students compared to white students.
Beyond the data-driven items, there is also this critique:
Less appreciated, but perhaps more important, Tisch’s unsuccessful focus on standards and testing has distracted the department from another major function, district oversight. The crisis in East Ramapo — where the school board has long plundered district funds to provide services to students attending yeshivas — is only beginning to be met with effective action.
Also for years, districts have denied adequate services to immigrant children and English Language Learners, yet sanctions were routinely delayed and sporadic.
In New York City, state requirements for school librarians, physical education and more have been ignored. Of greatest consequence, the rampant racial and income segregation of the state's schools has been met with mere lip service from the person who should be New York’s leading voice and change agent on the issue.
Tisch vehemently believes that poor performance should lead to firings and school closures. She argued that position in a letter to the governor’s office last December, stating in no uncertain terms that “if these schools cannot be made to perform, they must be closed and replaced.” She recently repeated the prescription, asking rhetorically, “How long do you stick with a failing school?”
It is time for Tisch to take the medicine she has advised for others. How long, indeed.
For too long, the "accountability" has only gone one way - that's downward-driven, aimed at schools and educators.
The policymakers, the educrats and the nonprofits all skirt accountability no matter how often they fail.
Just look at John King and Joel Klein as primary examples of that.
So indeed, it is time for Tisch to go and with her benefactor Shelly Silver facing criminal trial and out of the speaker's office, I suspect she will.
Alas, she should take some of the blame for the mess that is New York's education system along with her because she has been around for many of the problems - from the test inflation to the CCSS mess.