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Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch won't seek another term

WBFO News file photo

The leader of the New York State Board of Regents will not seek a new term. Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch made the announcement at the start of board meeting in Albany Monday morning.

"When my term ends in March, I will follow the tradition of past chancellors and not seek another term as chancellor, and I will step down from the board," stated Tisch.  

Tisch was first selected to serve as chancellor in 2009. She has been with the Board of Regents for 20-years, first appointed in 1996.  She was re-elected to five-year terms in 2001, 2006 and 2011. 

Credit WBFO News file photo
Chancellor Merryl Tisch, talked with Niagara Falls school students during a western New York visit earlier this year. She will not seek another term as Regents chancellor.

Tisch has been in charged since the implementation of the highly controversial Common Core Learning Standards. 

The Executive director of the Network for Public Education Foundation, Carol Burris, was in our studio earlier this month, where she called for Tisch to step aside."I think that it's time for Merryl Tisch to go," stated Burris.  

When we reached Burris Monday afternoon, the retired Long-Island Principal, said she was 'very pleased' to learn Tisch would be leaving when her term ends in March.

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Carol Burris, Executive director of the Network for Public Education Foundation, recently called for Tisch to step down.

"She created a lot of problems for the students and the schools in New York State as well meaning as she might be, and I'm really looking forward to new leadership in that position," responded Burris.

Burris said Tisch should have stepped aside during the back-lash over Common Core. 

"Many of the decisions she made and push were weak ones," said Burris.  "I think if she had put life-time educators in that position, I think it would have been a more successful term, instead she was heavily involved during the very difficult time and I think she made a lot of poor decisions. It's going to take a while for New York to recover from that."

Tisch is a former first-grade teacher. Her current term ends in March.  

In announcing her decision, Tisch urged board members to continue to pursue higher learning standards.

The New York State United Teachers also reacting to Tisch's announcement.  The union issued a statement saying it 'opens the door to a new direction in state education policy — one that more fully respects the voices of parents and teachers and values teaching and learning ahead of standardized testing and data-driven teacher evaluations.'

Credit WBFO News file photo
Merryl Tisch, in a past visit to Buffalo, says she will not seek another term as Regents chancellor.

“With this announcement, New York state can move past an era that put far too much emphasis on standardized testing and, too often, dismissed the concerns of parents and educators. This mistaken direction in state education policy led to a serious erosion of trust and confidence. Chancellor Tisch recently acknowledged that, indeed, the state had gone too far, too fast in the use of standardized tests, especially in teacher evaluations. We now see movement to roll back some of those excesses. Those steps toward sanity in state education policy are most welcome and we look forward to working with Chancellor Tisch over the next five months to make the necessary fixes," said NYSUT President Karen E. Magee

NYSUT Vice President Catalina Fortino also noted that it is a chance for the Regents and State Education Department to pursue a new policy direction.

“The pendulum on standardized testing is swinging back. Policymakers have clearly heard from parents and educators that more teaching and less testing is needed. The chancellor’s decision to step down opens the door for a new direction in state education policy,” Fortino said. “We look forward to working with the chancellor in her efforts to ‘calm the waters’ over the next five months and to implement a better, fairer system of testing and evaluations.”

The Alliance for Quality Education also issued the following statement in response to Tisch's announcement:

"For the last 20 years Merryl Tisch has devoted countless hours to serving our schoolchildren as a member of the New York State Board of Regents including the past six as Chancellor," said AQE Executive Director Billy Easton. "She has consistently supported equitable school funding and a fair and predictable foundation aid formula. She has been a very strong advocate for assertive state action to redress the educational injustices we see in East Ramapo and for the Dream Act. Although we have not always agreed, we have found that we could work with her on important issues. We wish to thank Chancellor Tisch for her service and wish her luck in her future endeavors."

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