Recently Mayor Bill DeBlasio and Chancellor Carmen Farina announced a plan to help struggling schools by providing extra tutoring, after-school programs, and other needed resources. They made clear that they wanted to support schools with low test scores instead of closing them. The mayor said he would invest $150 million in extra resources to the lowest performing schools.


However, Merryl Tisch, the chancellor of the state Board of Regents, said on a radio show that if the schools didn’t show progress by this coming spring,  she would move to close them and replace them with charter schools. The Tisch family, in addition to being generous philanthropists, are big supporters of charter schools.


Giving the DeBlasio plan only a few months to prove its success seems awfully unfair. Schools don’t get “turned around” in a few months. Surely Tisch knows that.


She said:


The main issue, according to Tisch, is that the principals need leverage to fire educators if they don’t meet standards.
“It’s not just saying, ‘We’re gonna fix these schools,’” she said. “You gotta give the new principals and assistant principals the ability to hire the teachers that they want and fire the teachers that they don’t want.”
Tisch applauded the efforts of city Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, however, and said she had faith the schools boss could make the right moves.
“I think she’s a fine educator, and I believe she will do ultimately what’s best for the children,” Tisch said.
Tisch also said she would push for more charter schools, something de Blasio opposes, and added the city should not change the admissions standards for specialized high schools.
“I personally am a great believer in charter schools,” she said. “I think that they have done remarkable work. I believe in opening them aggressively . . . I’d like to push for more charter schools.”


She was not asked, nor did she address the question about whether the principals and assistant principals were part of the problem. It seems unreasonable to assume that giving them more power to hire and fire at will is going to raise test scores or even produce better qualified teachers. But it is especially unreasonable to expect a fast result after years of neglect.