Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Rosa's Ascendency on N.Y.'s Board of Regents Worsens N.Y.'s Ed Reform Prognosis

On February 28th, the Daily News ran this headline: “RIP, NY School Reform.” Either the editors there weren’t letting on all they knew or they were prescient because the latest sign of demise is a reports that Betty Rosa will be voted by her colleagues on the state Board of Regents to assume the chancellorship.

The Board of Regents sets statewide school policy. Members are appointed by the Legislature and they vote among themselves for leadership positions.

The news was first reported on Friday by Leslie Brody at the Wall St. Journal. Brody wrote that Rosa “has been seeking the post and has the support of advocates who promote boycotting state tests. Ms. Rosa has criticized what she sees as excessive testing and the use of test scores in teacher evaluations.” Today Politico confirms the story, writing that
The appointment of Betty Rosa as chancellor of the state Board of Regents will bring major change to the education policymaking board, ending the reign of Merryl Tisch — a leader whose positions on most education issues vary greatly from that of Rosa. 
The selection of the Bronx board member will also likely embolden test-refusal movement leaders, who endorsed Rosa for the leadership role. 
Rosa, who has been outspoken on testing and teacher evaluations issues, may clash with state education commissioner MaryEllen Elia, who was hired under the leadership of Tisch and supports high standards and state testing for data purposes.
Back in January, Chalkbeat noted that Rosa, who has been actively campaigning for the post, was “the loudest critic of Tisch’s policies and would represent the most radical shift in leadership.”

Rosa is ardently backed by N.Y.’s opt-out group NYS Allies for Education, whose board includes anti-reform luminaries like Leonie Haimson (founder of Parents Across America and a board member at Diane Ravitch’s Network for Public Education) and Marla Kilfoyle (general manager of the Badass Teachers Association). Rosa is also supported by the state teachers’ union, in large part because she's on record saying that she believes that Common Core-aligned tests are "rigged" to create the impression that suburban schools are failing:
"I'm not saying it's a fraud, but there's a lack of understanding ... of what's behind the Common Core," she said. "Do I believe that the purpose, the agenda is to create a sense of urgency around failure? Yes."
Final nail in the coffin? Seems like it.

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