Reactions to the New NYSED Commissioner

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…

“Reign Of Chaos” For Ten Years At A Hillsborough Middle School Under MaryEllen Elia’s District

LeadershipAllegations Of Racial Discrimination In Hillsborough Schools Under MaryEllen Elia’s Leadership

Parents Wanted MaryEllen Elia Out After Deaths Of Two Special Needs Students

New NYSED Commissioner: We’ll “Repaint” The Common Core Narrative So People Like It

Reactions from union “leaders” were typically awful…

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.


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