I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Something Is Very Wrong With Merryl Tisch

Am I the only one who finds this sort of behavior borderline sociopathic?
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 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?!  

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...


Anonymous said...

Disgraceful. This is why my children have opted out of testing this year.

Kelly said...

OMG! There are no words....(that could be printed here anyway).

Mrs. King's music students said...

The time between birth and age 12 is sacred turf. The love of learning to last a lifetime has to happen in the first 12 years. No backsies.

The meaningless barrage of tests replacing the love of learning for generations of our children will come back to haunt us long after the politics have been forgotten.

alm said...

I think if you read carefully the problem she characterized as healthy was that some students were having difficulty finishing the test - not that a child was crying.

It's a bit of a leap to jump from that anecdote to 'real harm to children' -- your rhetoric here is more than a touch overheated.

Unknown said...

Typical response from a member of the Tisch family. I'll bet inside her 403b portfolio you will find a healthy chunck of Measurements, Inc stock that is worth a bundle.

BTW, it is a state law that only certified teachers who sign off on the test can be present in a classroom that is administrating the test. I am surprised that she wasn't cited for that. Maybe some smart parent or lawyer will sue her for that.

Unknown said...

Elementary Rat on the NYT pro common core testing editorial:
Shorter New York Times: Parents need to stop freaking out about these Common Core tests. If we don't fail more children today, how will we know which teachers to fire?

Also, we didn't read any of our own coverage about the test's problematic content, the stress New York children are evincing due to these tests, or Pearson. Our kids go to the kind of schools that don't allow these tests, so it wasn't relevant to us.

And stop complaining about the private concerns making big bucks off the Common Core. They're totally research-based AND no one is making you buy Pearson materials. Wow, you all are conspiracy theorists or unionists or something.
Posted by E. Rat at 8:51 PM
My comment:

From the Times editorial on common core:

"some parents whose children have already taken the tests are outraged. They shouldn’t be:… Common Core [standards] have been adopted by 45 states."

The New York Times has served as a demagogues echo chamber for many years. The most damning the run-up to the Iraq war. I see this New York Times editorial as being part of that pattern. It can be excited by those who have created The artificial push forward these ill-conceived standards as an echo chamber, which to some appears to be additional evidence. But it does nothing but BS

In 2002, someone in the Bush administration leaked to New York Times Iraq puppet Judith Miller that Saddam Hussein was stockpiling aluminum tubes to construct an atomic bomb. Then vice president Dick Cheney went on NBC’s Meet the Press and cited the Times story as proof that Hussein was stockpiling aluminum tubes to construct an atomic bomb.