Regents Chancellor aims for fewer tests, better teacher development

Apr 2, 2015

In revamping the state’s evaluation system, Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch said she aims to have fewer tests for students, and more productive professional development for teachers.

Speaking on the Wednesday edition of The Capitol Pressroom, Tisch said neither student testing nor teacher observation can stand alone as a gauge of educational performance and that she would never be in favor of a system that did not include portions of both. 

NYS Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch at a past visit in Buffalo.
Credit WBFO News file photo

New laws out of Albany’s state budget says school districts can opt to add a local evaluation test to current state requirements. Tisch says she agrees with parents and educators who are sick of overtesting and seek relief for their kids.

“I want to cut down on the number of days of testing. I want to look at this law. I want the state education department to work in concert with the field to develop a set of recommendations that allows us to minimize testing while simultaneously producing differentiated results to drive professional development into the field in meaningful ways,” said Tisch.

Tisch said policymakers in Albany need to be mindful of all the requirements laid on school districts. She said education leaders across the state are telling her that “reform fatigue” is setting in.

Tisch said she wants to create a meaningful system for evaluation that takes into account input from principals, superintendents, parents, and students about why what works and what doesn’t.

Responding to comments from New York State United Teachers President, Karen Magee, urging parents to opt out of state standardized tests, Tisch called for broad cooperation. She said opting out of state testing violates federal statutes and that the underlying issue is that it would compromise funding for schools districts, which ultimately hurts the students.