I'm sorry, but is the Chancellor seriously stating that it's "healthy" to have a child break down in tears over a test right in front of her?!Rockville Centre on Long Island had an unusually high number of students who skipped the exam, Superintendent Bill Johnson said. Mr. Johnson said 338 of the district's 1,650 third- through eighth-graders didn't take the test.Mr. Johnson said he thought there were "serious problems" with the test, in large part because teachers are just beginning to learn the approach required under the new benchmarks, known nationally as the Common Core State Standards."We had a couple of kids who got sick, who started throwing up," he said. "We had one child who went to the bathroom and refuse to leave. We had a number of children who walked out of tests crying."Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, who helps set education policy for the state, said she visited several schools this week, and students told her they found the passages interesting and engaging. She said she "only saw one kid crying."Ms. Tisch said the boy was a "sweet" fourth-grader, and she and his classmates tried to console him. She told the student that many other students were also having trouble completing the exam."We have to address that issue about finishing," she said.But she called it a "healthy problem." It would be worse, she said, if tests were described as unfair or poorly done. Last year, for example, the state had to toss out questions related to a passage that was widely ridiculed for being confusing. "I would be so bold as to say they were better than most people expected them to be," she said. [emphasis mine]
I'm sure the "sweet" nine-year-old really appreciated this strange lady trying to console him by telling him that there were plenty of other children who were also big failures, just like he was...
For that matter, what was Tisch doing in the classroom anyway during a testing session? Does she think it's helpful to have the Chancellor and her entourage come into a school to check up on the testing? Might she consider that distractions like this are the last things children and teachers under pressure need to deal with?
As to Tisch's contention that the tests were "better than most people expected them to be": how can anyone know that unless they are released to the public for vetting? When Gary Rubinstein took a look at the NY State math exams two years after they were administered, he found all sorts of serious problems with item construction. Is Tisch prepared to say these problems have been eliminated? Solely on the basis of talking to a few kids during the last week?
Merryl Tisch likes to pretend she understands the hell she is putting New York's kids and families through, but the sad truth is that she hasn't one damn clue. She attended a private school that downplays the usefulness of standardized testing; she sent her own kids to that very school, sparing them the grief New York's kids endured this week; and she did all of her teaching in private schools, so she's never had to worry about the effect of high-stakes testing on her own career.
Tisch is imposing a testing regime that is doing real harm to children - a regime she herself assiduously avoided. What's worse, when she is confronted with the consequences of her actions, she breezily dismisses the real pain of a child as "healthy."
Were I a New York State parent, I'd be demanding the removal of this woman from any position of authority over the public schools. She is clearly unfit for the job.
That looks like "healthy" crying and vomiting to me...