Education Reform

Attention, New York Parents and Educators: Regent Tilles Has Not Agreed to Vote “NO”

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Last night, I posted that New York Regent Roger Tilles had told an audience of educators in Port Jefferson, Long Island, that he opposes test-based evaluations of teachers and principals. What a remarkable reversal, I wrote. His statement led many, including me, to assume that he would vote “no” when the Regents consider the Cuomo plan to evaluate educators by test scores on September 16. His declaration was unequivocal.

I was wrong.

This morning I heard from reliable sources that Regent Tilles intends to vote yes. He is personally opposed to test-based evaluation, but he intends to vote to to impose it on every public school in New York state. Despite what he said, he will vote yes. Despite the massive opt outs in the region he represents, despite the respected superintendents in his region who have spoken out against test-based evaluation (as Tilles did), he still intends to approve the governor’s plan. His logic apparently is that while he is opposed to test-based evaluation, he must support the law that was pushed through hurriedly in the middle of the night last spring. He also believes that superintendents in Long Island support the governor’s plan. I hope he has read this analysis of the law, which shows why he and other Regents should vote against it.

When you speak to Regent Tilles, don’t ask if he opposes test-based evaluation. The answer will be yes. Ask him if he will vote to oppose the governor’s test-based evaluation plan. The answer will be no.

If you live in Long Island, please let him know what you think.

Fortunately, there are six brave, thoughtful, and honorable Regents who are prepared to vote NO. All six are experienced educators. They know that the governor’s plan will demoralize teachers and worsen teacher shortages, especially in schools that educate the lowest-scoring students, that is, Black and Hispanic children in urban districts, children with disabilities, and English language learners.

If three Regents change their votes, the ill-considered and harmful law will go back to the legislature for deliberation and revision.

The three likeliest to flip their votes are Roger Tilles, Josephine Finn, and Lester Young. The last two are African Americans, and they surely know that the governor’s plan will compel teachers in New York’s most segregated schools to double down on test prep and to cheat the children of the arts, physical education, science, history, geography, civics, and everything else that is not tested.

You will find the emails here for all the Regents. Please let them know what you think.

Charles Bendit
Anthony Bottar
Andrew Brown
Christine Cea
James Cottrell
Josephine Finn
Wade Norwood
James Tallon
Merryl Tisch
Roger Tilles
Lester Young

Here are the Regents who voted NO last time. Please thank them for standing up for common sense, good education, the rights of children, and the dignity of the teaching profession:

Kathleen Cashin
Judith Chin
Catherine Collins
Judith Johnson
Beverly Ouderkirk
Betty Rosa

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