Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fred Smith On the Empress Tisch

What clear and astute observations... Loretta Prisco

Fred, thanks for this scathing and brilliant portrait. Helps me make sense of my visceral reaction of horror at her presentation. So much feigned reasonableness and caring. So little capacity for hearing the truth.... Jeff N
Yes, Fred- so right on! Let's not forget that the "flawed accountability system" she is replacing is one SHE is responsible for and defended.... Lisa D.
There are a lot of posts coming today(ala Ravitch) so duck. In the world of ed deform, there are not many people I despise more than Merryl Tisch. So how nice to see this.

Change the Stakes had a big crew testifying at the Flannigan hearings yesterday (details later).

Our man Fred Smith was there with some perfect comments on Merryl Antoinette.
Some observations about Chancellor Tisch's performance at the Education Committee hearing yesterday:

~ She thinks that being soft-spoken can disguise her haughtiness and pernicious policies. 

~ Tisch throws in a few spontaneous remarks that pass for wit to show that she's loose, the epitome of grace under fire and not totally rehearsed.  

~ Answers begin by identifying with the questioner ("Yes, I know because when I taught... I'm concerned about ELL kids. My family were immigrants too... Being poor is no fun.  I can remember a Tuesday when I forgot my wallet, my chauffeur had the day off and the maid was late....) Yes, I've walked many a mile in your Louboutains.

~ She has a fondness for setting up false choices in order to suggest bold leadership : We could have adopted the Common Core or remained with a system the failed to prepare our students for college.  (By the way, she apparently realized that graduates needed "remediating" at community colleges in 2010. Somehow the problem had eluded all the Regents and had even gone undiscovered by Her Regency for 14 years.) 

[Digression: Tisch's use of the word remediating smacked me between my ears. Sounded like irradiating.  Did someone say sterilizing?]

~ Anyway back to the dichotomies:  We could have taken the RTTT money or.... (fill in the blank).  We could have gone backward or forward, left or right, bad or worse and we chose knishes over cyanide.

~ When the Queen gets an unexpected question to which she cannot give a practiced response she will invariably begin her answer with the placeholder "So... followed by a repeat of the question.  So, you want to know why we didn't announce forums in New York City. In fact, that was part of our plan all along and we'll hold forums in all four or five boroughs.  If there were six boroughs, we'd schedule one there, too.)

~ Thank you for inviting me and giving me a chance to address these important concerns. There's no place I'd rather have been.

Such noblesse.  Thank you, Merryl Antoinette.

Fred Smith

1 comment:

  1. Merryl Tisch embodies the problems with top-down education reform. Implicit in all her statements yesterday is the assumption that teachers and parents do not have the best interests of children at heart, or are incompetent to serve those interests.

    She protested that resistance to the Common Core is based on a misunderstanding: "CCSS is not a curriculum but a set of standards."

    She also was honest about what is motivating these reforms in the first place: the belief that under the current system employers are not finding enough qualified employees graduating from our public schools.

    But these assertions do not address the heart of the resistance she is facing. The only proper response to the exploding criticism of CCSS is to say: "Henceforth the NYSED will issue standards, but these will come with no high-stakes consequences attached for ignoring them. We at NYSED will communicate to districts our best understanding of the standards needed in schools, and districts will implement those as they see fit based on local concerns and judgments, and under the authority of the local community, not NYSED."

    Short of that, resistance will continue to mount until CCSS and RTTT are overturned. Tisch and Kind can re-arrange deck chairs all they want, but the Regents' Reform Agenda cannot be saved, and the reason it has failed is not bad tests, age-inappropriate standards, or the mis-allocation of resources to phony "accountability" systems instead of measures that really help struggling children. The powers that be are starting to acknowledge those problems and to claim they too want to fix them. They say they don't want teaching to the test, they do want districts to determine curricula, they are in favor of early childhood programs. But those message adjustments don't matter: Tisch's agenda is going down because it is fundamentally anti-democratic, and the people want to exercise their right and obligation to educate their own children as they see fit.

    Jeff Nichols


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