Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Who's in Charge Here, Anyway?

Well, if you happen to be inquiring about the NY State Board of Regents, as of April 1st, that would be Meryl Tisch, from one of "the city's most philanthropic families." That's important, of course, because in Mayor Bloomberg's New York, only rich people have the insight to dictate to poor people what sort of education they need.

For just one example, last year NYC's public school parents selected smaller class sizes as their number one concern. Fortunately, chief "accountability" officer Jim Liebman was able to conflate their number two and three concerns, and let parents know that class size wasn't their number one concern after all. That's what "accountability" officers do when they aren't literally running from public school parents.

Back to Ms. Tisch, one might ask where all those "philanthropic" funds came from. Well, a good deal of them came via the sale of Newport cigarettes, which they gave up last June. Apparently, the Tisch family was uncomfortable with selling such an odious product, which explains why they flirted with the idea for a mere forty years before renouncing it. As for Ms. Tisch personally, her philosophies seem ultimately very much in sync with billionaire Mayor Mike, according to Elizabeth Green of Gotham Schools:

Though Tisch has been a strong supporter of Mayor Bloomberg, she has also occasionally criticized him and his schools chancellor, Joel Klein. She told the Times last year that she disagreed with Klein’s request for looser regulations on state funds. “Nobody appointed him czar,” she said. She also testified to a committee that mayoral control of the schools, which Bloomberg strongly supports, should be curtailed. I reported her testimony, which was originally secret, at the New York Sun

Yet Tisch’s plans for the state’s public schools, which she laid out in a long statement accepting the new position, sound many similar notes to the Bloomberg administration’s work in New York City. It also echoes the Obama administration’s plans for education.

It's unfortunate that Ms. Tisch is so profoundly unaware of what's going on with public school kids that she'd dally with such preposterous and counterproductive "reforms." In her favor, it appears that unlike Chancellor Klein, Bill Gates, Jay Matthews, Randi Weingarten, and the other "experts," Ms. Tisch has actually spent several years working as a teacher. So perhaps there's a glimmer of hope somewhere.

If I could ask Ms. Tisch one thing, I'd ask her to stop requiring kids who arrived in the USA five minutes ago to take the English Regents. That way, folks like me could get back to the business of teaching them English, which personally, I've found very useful.

What would you ask Ms. Tisch?

Thanks to Greg D.
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