August 05, 2009
The New York State Regents shenanigans will be just one of the big issues with which newly minted State Chancellor of Education David Steiner needs to contend. We noted his appointment last week, but his chock-a-block to-do list is worth a second inspection. Where should he start? Tom Carroll, President of the Foundation for Education Reform & Accountability, offers a helpful list of priorities. In addition to tackling the testing problem, Carroll argues, Steiner should: increase the transparency of state report cards for parents; tie dollars to school performance ("If you simply reward corralling students, and not actually educating them, then you will have a lot of schools that corral students but don't actually educate them."); reform the state's bureaucratic charter rules, perhaps building off of his (Steiner's) own background working with top charter leaders on Teacher U; abolish "Carnegie units," an anachronistic way of measuring required seat time in lieu of actual learning, in high schools; and encourage his new agency (the state department of education) and bosses (the Regents themselves) to count more on research instead of responding to political pressures. Others (see here and here, too) are also ready to advise. Gadfly is glad he doesn't have Steiner's job but wishes him well.
"A primer for success," by Thomas W. Carroll, Albany Times Union, August 2, 2009