FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MARCH 16, 2009
For More Information Contact:
Tom Dunn, Jonathan Burman or Jane Briggs at (518) 474-1201
STATEMENT OF DR. MERRYL H. TISCH,
CHANCELLOR-ELECT OF THE NEW YORK STATE BOARD OF REGENTS
I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as Chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents at this critical moment for New York’s three million school children. I look forward to working closely with Dr. Milton L. Cofield, Vice Chancellor-Elect, who is a tireless advocate for educational excellence.
I want to extend my deepest thanks and gratitude to Regent Robert M. Bennett for his seven years of outstanding service as Chancellor. Under his leadership, this Board rose to the forefront of the national standards movement - demanding excellence from all of our children and accountability from teachers, principals and school districts throughout our state. All New Yorkers owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude.
I am grateful to the State Legislature and the Executive, who have been our constant allies in this drive toward excellence and accountability. I also thank our many partners in the field who share a common commitment to New York’s children. The staff of the Education Department are a remarkable asset for New Yorkers and I am privileged to work with them.
Going forward, standards, accountability and innovation will be the watchwords of this Board and the State Education Department.
As Chancellor, I will insist that we continue to raise standards for all of our children and hold every school district accountable for their results, while providing the support necessary to get that done.
We will reform and expand our data system to make it easier to use, faster, and more complete, extending from pre-kindergarten through college.
We will embrace innovation with a data-driven approach that seeks to constantly identify and advance policies and best practices to raise test scores, raise graduation rates, and finally close the achievement gap.
We will extend the call for greater accountability and higher standards to our two year colleges so that all of our graduates are prepared to succeed in the workplace or to achieve at a four year college or university.
We will continue to find new ways to recruit the best and brightest into teaching and keep them there with an openness to alternate routes to certification and experiments to reward excellence.
We will find new ways to increase the number of excellent teachers working in schools with students who need extra help, including black and Latino students, English Language Learners and students with disabilities.
And we will move forward with the effort begun by Chancellor Bennett, the Board of Regents, and Commissioner Mills to redesign the State Education Department so that we can better support local innovation in our highest performing districts and engage more deeply with districts that are struggling and in need of additional support.
Our first order of business will be the completion of a timely and orderly search, both wide and exhaustive, for a successor to our Commissioner, Richard Mills, who will retire in June after leading change in the State for fourteen years.
We will select a Commissioner who will be this Board’s partner in creating a 21st century Education Department that sets high standards, insists on accountability, supports innovation and becomes a repository for best practices.
The Board of Regents has a reach beyond our schools. Our responsibility to adults with disabilities is to leverage support so that they may live, learn and work in their communities. This Board will continue its mission to protect the public by fostering high standards of professional licensure, practice and discipline among the 750,000 professionals we license. And we will support the cultural institutions that preserve and enhance the State’s collection of historic and cultural treasures.
New York is a large and diverse state, and while each region may be unique, the needs of our children are not. I will work tirelessly with my colleagues on the Board of Regents from every part of this state to ensure that every school district and every college, university, library, and museum in our entire state system are laboratories for learning that help our state and its citizens achieve and succeed.