Dear Governor Cuomo & New York State Board of Regents Members:
Recent news articles attributing statements made by the State’s new Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia raise serious concerns about her vision and policies regarding the course of education in this state.
It was troubling to read that Commissioner Elia was advocating for a financial punishment for school districts with high percentages of opt-outs. It appears that she believes her role is to continue the detrimental policies of her predecessor and to some extent double down on former Commissioner King’s policies.
New York State has continuously expressed a desire to partner with parents, teachers, and all the stakeholders in supplying a quality education for all of our children.
Commissioner Elia, through her statements has labeled concerned parents, teachers and other stakeholders who have expressed concerns about education in our state as adversaries. Parents attempted to communicate their dissatisfaction with the direction of education through an act of civil disobedience. The high number of opt-outs was meant to send a clear message to Albany.
Instead of digging in and threatening the people that are trying to send a message about policies they believe are harmful to our children, the State Education Department and the Regents should take a step back.
The debate over opposition to the Common Core curriculum is taking place in state after state, as well as on the federal level. It has also become a leading issue in the presidential campaign. Here in New York we have had an overwhelming opt-out movement, and more than 50,000 people actually voted on a Stop Common Core ballot line. It is time for the Regents to re-evaluate the direction they are determined to steer education in this state.
The Regents should further re-evaluate their appointment of Commissioner Elia. This state should not be threatening parents, teachers and other stakeholders involved in the education of our children to bend to the will of the state. The state has to consider the concerns expressed through civil disobedience and re-examine the appropriateness, and the impact that the common core curriculum is having on all our children.
CC: Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia
It is time to take back the public education system from the educrats who seek to impose their own agenda on the state's students, parent and teachers no matter the opposition.