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Tisch Must Go -- Bill Cala to State Board of Regents

Ohanian Note: I echo Norm Scott: Bill Cala is one of my favorite people too. And yes, I'd definitely nominate him for New York State Education Department chief. Imagine: a state ed department run by someone with deep knowledge of public schools.

I have posted 77 outrages involving New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch. Put her name in a 'search' on this site.

by Norm Scott

One of my favorite people is Bill Cala, former acting Supt of Rochester schools and long-time, now retired, Supe in nearby Fairport. We met at an anti-high stakes testing conference organized by Susan Ohanian in Birmingham, AL over a decade ago. Bill should be running the State Ed Dept. --- if this were a rational world.

By the way-- Bill and his wife Joanne run an amazing charity in Africa where they build schools and do other wonderful stuff. Check it out -- and DONATE!

Bill Cala's letter

Dear Members of the New York State Board of Regents,

Over the past year, it should be apparent that the direction of education in New York is changing. Parents have raised their voices and are no longer willing to blindly accept the state and national agenda of testing and punishment to their children and their children's teachers. Parents have made it clear that they support their public schools and teachers and will no longer accept a rigid curriculum and testing regime.

Former commissioner King's management of curriculum, data, parents and the implementation of the common core (as well as the common core itself) surely precipitated his departure. Parents, teachers, school board members and the general populace demanded that the process of appointing members to the Board of Regents by the legislature dramatically change and that the process become more transparent. Those demands were so loud and deafening that the legislature had little choice but to listen. As a result, unprecedented turnover resulted. The most ardent supporter of John King was regent Robert Bennett. Throughout Bennett's term he has supported positions that have been at cross purposes with the wishes of parents and teachers. Before John King's departure, Bennett's praise for his policies were unwavering. In fact, when King resigned, Bennett was quoted as saying "...he is the best educator I have ever met." Quite curious that when interviewed for reappointment to the Board of Regents recently, the story changed. It became apparent that Mr. Bennett read the tea leaves and knew that support for John King would not secure reappointment. Fortunately the legislators paid attention and knew very well where he stands on the issues and this led to Mr. Bennett's withdrawal of his application. As you know, this was not the only incumbent who fell.

You all know the history and hopefully you all are aware of the movement for a more responsive government and a board of regents more receptive to the needs and desires of the people of the state of New York. The big question that remains is whether or not the new composition of the board will do "business as usual" or will this board respond to the outcry of parents and teachers. The most effective sign that the Regents are listening and care about the people they serve would be to elect a new chancellor.

Chancellor Tisch has vehemently supported the policies of John King and demonstrated an uncomfortable alliance with the draconian policies of Governor Cuomo. She has been unapologetic, unresponsive and deaf to the public she serves. Her continued leadership of the board will signal defiance of the will of the educational community and an arrogance of unmeasured proportions.

I trust that events of the recent weeks and months will bring a change of heart which subsequently will lead to a change of leadership so desperately needed in New York. Anything less will send a signal that the voices of communities across the state have been ignored.


William C. Cala Ed.D.
Lifetime New York educator and child advocate

— Bill Cala and Norm Scott
EdNotes Online





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