Good for The Bottoms. Read it all.
Regents Pay a Political Price for Their Free Advisers, Dissenters WarnNew York State Board of Regents, Merryl H. Tisch, announced a new program: 13 research fellows would be selected to advise the education commissioner and the 17-member board. The fellows would be paid as much as $189,000 each, in private money; to date, $4.5 million has been raised, including $1 million donated by Dr. Tisch, a member of one of New York’s wealthiest families.
The chancellor sees the program as a way to add resources and expertise at a time of severe budget cutting (state financing of the Education Department is down 35 percent since 2009). She said the fellows would help ensure that the $700 million federal Race to the Top grant New York was awarded last year was properly spent.
“People in the department were burning out,” Dr. Tisch said. “This was a great way to enhance our capacity.”
As Dr. Tisch put it, what’s not to like about free fellows?
Plenty, according to several current and former board members.
Public education has never been so divided, between those like Dr. Tisch, Commissioner John B. King Jr. and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg who support the Obama administration’s signature Race to the Top initiative and its emphasis on standardized tests and charter schools; and dissenters on the board, who call it a Race to the Bottom and put their faith in teachers as well as traditional public schools. The Race to the Bottom folks warn that the supposedly free fellows come at a stiff political price.
There was another article in the same edition by Sam Dillon detailing state ed departments fighting back against NCLB and opposing the Obama administration attempts to offer waivers if they sign onto their oppressive regs - teacher evals by test score, lots of charters, etc.
Some education officials and experts see signs that years of federal dominance of public school accountability may be drawing to a close.