Regent’s Stepdown

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The chancellor of the Board of Regents, Merryl Tisch, will step down and leave the board at the end of her term in March. She has overseen shifts in state educational policies, including the rollout of Common Core in New York public schools. After receiving harsh criticism for implementing a push for harder tests and “higher expectations,” she described the changes made during her tenure as, “ implemented poorly.” She continued, “I say we disrupted stagnation. We disrupted complacency, and we tried to imbue the system with urgency.”

She has been a member of the board since 1996. Under her leadership, New York adopted difficult licensing exams due to the concern that some teachers were not well-qualified. She pushed for harder assessments claiming, “We cannot back away from standards. We cannot back away from assessments that give us an accurate measure of student performance and that informs instruction and curriculum.”

However, her ideals were met with fierce opposition by parents and unions. 20% of parents opted children out from taking the state standardized exam in 2015. The Department of Education also opposed her propositions, calling for limits on testing and claiming that students shouldn’t spend more than two percent of class time taking tests.

Students had mixed feelings about why Tisch was stepping down. Freshman Eric Wu, who has had Common Core experience during seventh, eighth, and ninth grade, said, “Based off of lots of backlash over the initial implementation of the Common Core, the next person to be in charge might make changes.”

Karen E. Magee, president of the New York State United Teachers union concluded, “With this announcement, New York State can move past an era that puts far too much emphasis on standardized testing and, too often, dismisses the concerns of parents and educators.”