Today Elia doubled down on that threat by saying funds may be withheld from districts and/or schools with high opt out rates::
Individual schools could lose funding if large numbers of students opt out of state standardized tests in April, state education commissioner MaryEllen Elia said on Wednesday.
Of the 1.1 million students eligible to take state exams in math and English language arts exams this year, nearly 20 percent, or 200,000 students, opted out.
The state Education Department is in conversations with the U.S. Department of Education working on a plan regarding possible sanctions for districts with high opt-out rates, Elia said.
In the conference call with reporters, Elia said the sanctions weren’t clearly defined and could simply consist of a phone call to superintendents asking what happened and what they plan to do differently next year. But it's also possible that federal Title I funds will be withheld, she said.
Brian from PJSTA had a message for Elia a couple of days ago after she issued the initial "ramifications" threat:
@perdidostschool @MaryEllenElia should know that ramifications 4 civil disobedience will only be met with greater acts of civil disobedience— brian s (@Sashammy) August 9, 2015
The more heavy-handed NYSED and the Board of Regents get in dealing with the Opt Out movement, the more they're going to increase the number of opt outs for next year.
In 2014, 5% of students eligible to take the state tests opted out.
In 2015, 20% of students eligible to take the state tests opted out.
If Elia wants to use that heavy hand of hers to get punitive with districts or schools, strip them of or limit the use of Title 1 funds, or take some other punitive action meant to send a message that opting out will not be tolerated in New York State, she's going to find herself the focal point of a very angry group of New York State parents and teachers looking to send a message that New York is still nominally a democracy and educrats don't get to dictate policy.