Posts tagged "Richard Mills"
April 23, 2012
Responding to criticism about the now-famous “Hare and the Pineapple” story that appeared on last week’s eighth-grade reading test, state education officials today made a promise: State tests will no longer include literary works that have been revised.
“We will use only authentic passages, passages that have been published and not edited,” Kristen Huff, a senior fellow for testing, told members of the Board of Regents during their monthly meeting this morning.
If Huff’s promise sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Exactly a decade ago, then-State Education Commissioner Richard Mills made the same vow.
”It is important that we use literature on the tests without changes in the passages,” Mills said at the time, according to a report in the New York Times. ”I have looked carefully at the Education Department’s current practices and the concerns of the writers and have directed that these changes be made.”
Mills was reacting to an expose, engineered by an assiduous Brooklyn parent, that showed that the English Regents exam taken by high school students across the state contained oddly edited passages. The editing had stripped the texts of “virtually any reference to race, religion, ethnicity, sex, nudity, alcohol, even the mildest profanity and just about anything that might offend someone for some reason,” the Times reported in 2002. (more…)
September 13, 2010
In the wake of new evidence that New York State’s standardized tests have become easier to pass, education officials and state legislators have focused on moving on and improving the exams. But Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. would like to revisit the past.
In a letter to Senator Suzi Oppenheimer, who chairs the State Senate’s education committee, Diaz demanded that Oppenheimer call State Education Commissioner Richard Mills in to testify at hearings about the exams. Mills oversaw the State Education Department for 14 years and retired in 2009.
“Many of the issues occurred under his watch and he has a responsibility to answer the many questions that these recent results have raised,” Diaz wrote.
Oppenheimer has already said she plans to hold hearings in Manhattan that will focus on the now-lowered passing rates and re-calibrated proficiency standards, but she told the New York Post that she doesn’t want to drag Mills to the witness stand.
“‘I see no value in it,” she said. “He did what was best back then.” (more…)
April 21, 2009
A retired education administrator, Carole F. Huxley, will take the helm of the state’s schools while officials search for a permanent leader, state school officials announced today.
The current commissioner, Richard Mills, retires at the end of June, leaving Huxley to steer some big projects, including allocating $2.5 billion in stimulus dollars sent by the federal government and manning an ongoing restructuring of the state’s Education Department. Huxley is coming out of a two-year retirement to take on the post. She served as the state’s deputy commissioner of cultural education for 24 years.
Merryl Tisch, who became education chancellor just last month, said that Huxley will be a “bridge” between Mills and the new commissioner. “Having Carole in place will ensure a seamless transition in leadership as the Board continues a wide and exhaustive search for the next Education Commissioner,” Tisch said in a statement.
A spokeswoman for the State Education Department said they are accepting applications but have no time frame for when a permanent commissioner will be chosen. “I am eager to continue the work underway and to guide the progress ahead until new leadership is ready to take on the task,” Huxley said in a statement.
March 16, 2009
Merryl Tisch, a former first-grade teacher and member of one of the city’s most philanthropic families, will head the committee that oversees the state public schools, the Board of Regents, state officials just announced.
The other Regents elected Tisch to the title today at a critical moment for state education efforts. The Education Department in Albany is launching an internal restructuring, and the Regents are searching for a new commissioner to run the department.
Commissioner Richard Mills, who had served 14 years in the job, presiding over an ambitious raising of graduation standards, announced his plans to retire last year. The current Regents chancellor, Robert Bennett, of Buffalo, said he would step down from the position 10 days ago. Tisch has been vice chancellor of the board since 2007 and served on the board since 1996. Her term as chancellor begins April 1.
Though Tisch has been a strong supporter of Mayor Bloomberg, she has also occasionally criticized him and his schools chancellor, Joel Klein. She told the Times last year that she disagreed with Klein’s request for looser regulations on state funds. “Nobody appointed him czar,” she said. She also testified to a committee that mayoral control of the schools, which Bloomberg strongly supports, should be curtailed. I reported her testimony, which was originally secret, at the New York Sun
Yet Tisch’s plans for the state’s public schools, which she laid out in a long statement accepting the new position, sound many similar notes to the Bloomberg administration’s work in New York City. It also echoes the Obama administration’s plans for education. (more…)
March 6, 2009
Opening the door to new leadership just as the state is planning changes to its education system, Robert Bennett, the chancellor of the state’s Board of Regents, is announcing today that he will step down at the end of the month, one year before his term was set to end. Bennett’s decision comes as the Board of Regents is searching for a new state education commissioner to replace Richard Mills, who announced his plan to retire late last year. The Regents have also been steering a reorganization of the state Education Department.
Bennett, a Buffalo native who ran United Way’s chapter there and once served as mayor of that city, announced his decision to step down in a short letter dated today. He gave no reason for his departure, but said he intends to continue his service as board member. “As we all know, there are many issues that warrant our collective attention and resolution,” he wrote. “I am very grateful to all of you for your confidence and support. It has been a unique and tremendous honor to serve as Chancellor.”
The Board of Regents will elect its next chancellor on March 16 and 17, the date of the group’s next meeting. Merryl Tisch of Manhattan, who is an ally of the Bloomberg administration, is vice chancellor of the Board of Regents. The board also includes some critics of the administration. Tisch did not immediately return my phone call this evening after the press release was sent out (at about 5 o’clock).
Mills, the departing commissioner, said of Bennett: “I never found a better companion with whom to visit a pre-kindergarten or a school. He demands the best for every kid and is impatient with barriers he finds in their way.”
Bennett had been chancellor since 2002. Here is the full text of his letter: (more…)
January 28, 2009
Here is where you can watch today’s state Senate hearing on education budget cuts, live on the Internet. Richard Mills, the state education commissioner, is now urging lawmakers to continue doling out promised Campaign for Fiscal Equity payments — even if the scheduled increases have to slow down somewhat. Governor Paterson’s budget proposal calls for freezing the CFE increases, and delaying the promised hundreds of millions still left to come for several years.
To watch the live Internet video, make sure you have Real Player downloaded. Chancellor Joel Klein will testify soon.
Here’s Mills testifying, and more about what he said is below the jump:
January 7, 2009
For the second time this school year, state education officials have taken a stand against the city Department of Education.
State Education Commissioner Richard Mills ruled last week that the DOE illegally changed a regulation about how schools involve parents and staff members in developing plans and setting their budgets. He also ruled that parents must be involved in setting schools’ goals and strategies for meeting those goals.
The decision (pdf) was a response to a complaint registered by a Queens parent back in December 2007, just after the DOE issued a revised version of a regulation about School Leadership Teams, required groups that are made up of equal numbers of parents and school staff. (more…)
December 19, 2008
November 7, 2008
Luckily for us New Yorkers, the who-will-Obama-pick-on-education guessing game is just the tip of the speculation iceberg here. That’s thanks to Commissioner Richard Mills, who recently announced he intends to retire from his job as head of the state Education Department, opening the question of who will replace him.
One big job the next commissioner, whoever he or she is, will face is what to do about the growing storm of concern that the state’s educational standards are slipping. New York’s state tests have been criticized as giving an inflated sense of what students know; having big variations in difficulty level from year to year; and publishing optimistic reports on student progress — even when national tests show flat performance. These concerns have come from people as high up as the Board of Regents, which appoints the commissioner, and a top testing adviser to the State Education Department, so it’s hard to imagine they won’t have to be addressed.
Andy Wolf, once-upon-a-newspaper-time New York Sun columnist and Bronx newspaper publisher, is pushing a strategy for how to do this: replicate Massachusetts. Here’s what he says on his new blog (which makes him by my count the second New York City education pundit to move to the blogosphere):
Now is a good time to look at what was done in Massachusetts. Their education board raised standards, and aligned their tests with the federal yardstick. And there was some pain early on. But their strategy has paid off. Now Massachusetts posts the highest scores in the nation on the NAEP tests.
We need a State Education Commissioner who will put the interests of children first, even if it means that local educrats get some unpleasant news. We need a Commissioner who will emulate the Massachusetts model, one who will restore integrity to the Empire State’s compromised educational system, something Richard Mills never had the courage to do.