New York Regents Chancellor would Opt-Out
Controversies over the Common Core roll-out ultimately led former Chancellor of the New York Board of Regents Merryl Tisch to step down. To create more support for the Board of Regents, Betty Rosa was recently elected to replace Tisch as the chancellor. On her first day as Chancellor, Rosa said, “If I was a parent and I was not on the Board of Regents, I would opt out at this time.”
Rosa stepped into office after 200,ooo New York students opted out of taking these standardized tests. Her job now is to bring together the Common Core opponents and supporters.
Rosa herself is called a “renegade” because she and five other board members often vote against the majority on divisive issues. For example, she is against teacher evaluations because she, herself was once a special education teacher and a district superintendent.
In a recent interview she said, “I’d like to get back to a system that is not one size fits all, a system that really is focused on children’s needs.” Rosa was also endorsed by the New York State Allies for Public Education, which organizes opt-out rallies and information forums, and is an organization The Franklin Foundation considers crucial to ensuring real change in the support for public schools in New York.
But Rosa’s success depends on how well she will work with others on the board. In the past, she had some issues with former Chancellor Tisch. In 2010, Rosa urged Tisch not to publish test results because she felt that they inaccurately portrayed a marked improvement in student performance.
Now, Rosa is going to have to work with State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, who had said that Common Core tests need to be tweaked, but not change completely. And at the press conference where Rosa was introduced as Tisch’s successor, Elia and Vice Chancellor Andrew Brown stressed the changes to this year’s tests, including that the tests will be shorter and students will have unlimited time to take them.
And Rosa understands that this is going to be a problem.“When you have an institution as large as [the state education department] is and you have changes…you still have to proceed in a way that doesn’t create more turbulence in the field,” she said. “It’s going to be a process.”
For her first year, Rosa would like to work with the board to discuss how best to proceed.