Learning Matters' John Merrow and New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch (Photo: Nancy Adler)
The city's very low college and career readiness rate for black and Hispanic students is a statistic usually cited by advocates seeking to discredit the Bloomberg administration's education record.
But when asked to measure the true value of a high school diploma in New York City Wednesday night by education reporter John Merrow, Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch turned to the familiar statistic to convey her concerns.
"That, to me, is tragic," Tisch said, after rattling off the numbers.
Merrow pressed her to account for the disparity between the city's graduation rate, which is over 60 percent, and its low college-readiness rates. "Why isn't this fraud?" he asked.
"I didn't say it wasn't," Tisch said.
The exchange was part of a 90-minute public dialogue in which Tisch also criticized families who opt out of state tests, set firm limits about the city's request to certify teachers, and proclaimed that the city and its teachers union would reach a teacher evaluation deal before Gov. Andrew Cuomo's mid-January deadline.