As you have surely heard by now, the Board of Regents unanimously elected MaryEllen Elia as the new state education commissioner. Elia, who supports the Common Core, high stakes testing, test based teacher evaluation schemes, voucher programs, and charter schools, was a predictably disastrous hiring. She recently was fired as a superintendent in Florida where she was accused of trying to cover up the district’s complicity in the death of a 7 year old and was also accused of racial discrimination regarding her disciplinary policies. That’s only the tip of the iceberg too. Basically, the regents decided that Florida’s trash was New York’s treasure.
The hiring of Elia (or “EVILia” as she was dubbed in Florida) is nothing short of a slap in the face to the hundreds of thousands who opted-out of state tests and to public school teachers. To be clear, a teacher with the track record of Elia would never be hired again. Yet Elia essentially got a promotion. This coming from the people who like to preach about accountability. The regents decided that they’d ignore the parental and teacher outcry against the reform agenda and double down on it instead.
Over at the Perdido Street School blog, Reality-Based Educator ran a great series on Elia. You can check out his posts…
Reactions from union “leaders” were typically awful…
AFT’s @rweingarten on Elia: “even when MaryEllen applied [value-added] as required under Florida law, she made collaboration her mantra.”
— Chalkbeat New York (@ChalkbeatNY) May 26, 2015
NYSUT encouraged by appointment of new education commissioner http://t.co/wGQCJhWDJE
— NYSUT (@nysut) May 26, 2015
Both the teachers unions and the charter folks are issuing statements praising @MaryEllenElia, who was just voted NYS education commissioner
— Jimmy Vielkind (@JimmyVielkind) May 26, 2015
STCaucus had a decidedly different take. In a statement released yesterday they said…
Members of the ST Caucus Executive Committee were present at the May 18, 2015 Board of Regents’ meeting and had meaningful discourse with various Regents about APPR and high stakes testing. Ms. Elia’s track record does not align itself with the ST Caucus’ stance on these issues. In light of these discussions, the ST Caucus was surprised with the appointment of Ms. Elia to the position of Commissioner.
Ms. Elia’s track record does not align itself with the ST Caucus’ stance on these issues as well as positions shared with us by the Regents. It is the hope of ST Caucus that Ms. Elia will reverse her past positions on CCSS, HST, charter schools, and teacher evaluations. Further, the ST Caucus calls for the inclusion of each of the stakeholder voices related to decision-making in all aspects of the public education system in the state of New York, as well as demanding the process be a transparent democratic process that is representative of the great state of New York and the people it serves.