Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Regents Chair Tisch and Chancellor King give a Lesson on How Not to Be a Leader

Last night's forum at Ward Melville HS in Suffolk County once again revealed why Regents Chair Merryl Tisch and Chancellor John King are poorly equipped to lead the public schools of New York State and why their actions, as well as their policies, have triggered one of the largest parent revolts in modern American history.

In the face of incredibly moving testimony from parents and teachers about the damage done to children, teachers and families by the sudden imposition of Common Core aligned tests, their affect never changed.
There was not a sign of sympathy, empathy, or understanding coming from either person, nor an indication that anyone's arguments were being heard.

Indeed, both gave the impression that they were accustomed to having their instructions followed religiously by those in their charge, and were impatient with anything but blind obedience.

This approach would be counterproductive even if they had vast experience working in public schools, and or the stature that comes from years of education scholarship tested by the debates that published works inevitably inspire

But since Tisch and King have neither of these attributes, their arrogance, insensitivity, and immunity to argument and evidence infuriated virtually everyone in the room and as well as the thousands of people who have had a chance to see the videos of their "performance."

If you were going to give a lesson on how NOT to be a leader, you would do well to use the video of Regents Chair Tisch and Chancellor King's response to testimony last night.

The eloquence of the parents and teachers who spoke, compared to their tired invocation of college readiness as though it nullified every tale of damage, confusion and abuse, exposed their total lack of fitness for the positions their hold.

1 comment:

Lake Shores Community said...

What if We Are Asking the Wrong Question about Public Education in America?
There is a question at the center of discussions about educational reform: “Why do children fail?” or, more often, “Who is to blame for the failure of education in America?”
We talk about poverty, racial discrimination and segregation, deteriorating neighborhoods; bad schools, teachers and unions; charter schools and vouchers; privatization; testing; and, holding teachers and schools accountable.
What if our questions are the wrong questions?
Consider a different question.
“Why do children succeed in school?” Or, better yet, “What do successful students have in common?”
We will discover that it is not affluence. There are many successful students who are affluent and there are also poor children who excel. Conversely, there are affluent students who fail as badly as some of their poorer classmates.
It is not race, because the list of excellent students includes students with white skins and black and every color in between.
It is not bad schools and bad teachers, because excellent students can be found in both our best and worst schools.
The one characteristic that most links our best students, wherever we find them, is that they are supported by parent(s) who are determined that their children will get the best possible education and who consider themselves to be partners, sharing responsibility with teachers and principals.

The most common characteristic of children who fail is that they are not supported by parents who are determined, committed, and who accept responsibility as a partner in the educational process.
These new questions and their answers should change the way we think about education.
Education is in crisis because of a burgeoning population of mothers and fathers who live under a stifling blanket of hopelessness and powerlessness. These men and women are effectively disenfranchised and no longer believe in the American Dream for themselves or for their children. They do not stress the importance of education to their children; they make little if any effort to prepare their children for learning; and, they view their children's teachers and principals as adversaries. Many have lost control over their children and are no longer the guiding influence in the daily lives of their sons and daughters.

Because the quality of the education our children receive will determine the future of the U.S. in the Twenty-first Century, we face two challenges:

1. We must utilize every resource at our disposal to pull parents into the process as fully participating partners in the education of their kids. It is the absence of this partnership that results in the lowest level of motivation to learn on the part American children in generations and this is a reality that must be altered at all cost.
2. We must admit that our current educational process is poorly structured to get the results we seek. We must create a reality in which children are given time to master their subjects before they are expected to move on. After all, we do not expect that they all will have achieved the same things by the end of twelve years of school. What we need is that they will have learned as much as they are able and that they can apply what they have learned when they enter the next stage of their lives, whatever that may be.

The first challenge demands that we strive to change the culture of American society to one in which the American dream is real and achievable, if not for every man and woman, then at least for their children. It will require that we quit bickering and come together as a unified force to achieve a common objective.
There can be no excuses for failing to achieve the second challenge because the educational leaders in each of our fifty states has the authority to change, by decree, the educational process in their state.
If we continue down the same path, we place our entire future as a society in jeopardy.
Mel Hawkins