The one thing I want to get at here is the tone of contempt she had as she spoke with the Buffalo school board - here's the Buffalo News:
Some members on both sides of the usually bickering board attempted to explain the district’s past failures and plans for the future. She rejected each attempt.
The scenario that played out between the commissioner and the board members smacked of students sent to the principal’s office to explain their misbehavior. Elia’s tone became increasingly more direct as the meeting progressed.
Wearing a serious face with hands folded in front of her, Elia wasn’t buying excuses – from anyone on either side of the divided board.
At one point, board majority member Larry Quinn suggested the high schools on the receivership list were beyond repair and the district should focus its effort on elementary schools.
“Let’s be honest, you’re only looking at Buffalo,” Elia said, referring to possible solutions. “There are high schools in this nation that have been turned around. It’s going to be a huge sea change for this district and you’re the ones who are going to decide if you’re going to get there. You have a vote on a board to make the decision whether you’re going to do it.”
Quinn later suggested it could take a year to come up with plans for those schools.
“I can tell you, if you’re going to take a year to come up with a plan, you’re not going to have those schools any more,” she responded.
And when board member Sharon Belton-Cottman attempted to defend the district, Elia shared a similar exchange.
“I don’t want the impression to be given to you that this district cannot function,” Belton-Cottman said.
“For whatever reason,” Elia replied, “the Buffalo school system with the School Board has not gotten its act together at those schools.”
“That someone’s going to come in here and wave a magic wand, and all of these kids who have severe problems will start doing well, that’s just not going to happen,” Buffalo Teachers Federation President Philip Rumore said.
“It’s important for you to understand there will be consequences if you can’t move those schools forward,” she said. “It’s handing you a tool and giving you an option to use it. If you don’t use it, I will.”
I'm not here to defend the Buffalo school board or their track record overseeing Buffalo schools.
I am here to point out the contempt Elia showed for the school board as she, in the Buffalo News reporter's words, treated the school board members like misbehaving children.
The talk from the Board of Regents when Elia, who was fired from her previous gig for being a divisive leader who created a culture of fear in the workplace and refused to take responsibility for the deaths of several children under her leadership, was hired was how good she was at working with disparate parties to build consensus.
Considering how she got kicked out of her last job for doing the opposite, the consensus-building claim seemed absurd.
Today we get more evidence how absurd it is.
Elia plans to take it to teachers and schools, her way or the highway on dealing with problems, and if her tenure in Hillsborough is any indication, when problems arise, she will be quick to evade responsibility and blame others.
Given how toxic and poisoned the politics around public education are these days in New York, her "My way or the highway" strategy isn't going to play well in this state.
The sand is already sifting to the bottom of the time clock on her tenure here in New York.