ALBANY — Education commissioner MaryEllen Elia already has begun a battle to stop the rapidly growing opt-out movement before next year’s state tests, reaching out to department attorneys and meeting with superintendents, she told POLITICO New York.
“We’re trying to pull together a tool kit, if you will, to support superintendents in how we can communicate in a much more effective way to people across the state,” Elia said.
That kit will include legal information, which is why she has reached out to lawyers, Elia said.
“I want the superintendents to understand the reflections and law that they can use as an information piece when they talk to people in their community … It’s important for them to be able to say, ‘Listen, it’s the law.’”
Ooh, it's the law!
I am so impressed by that statement.
Segregation and slavery were the law too, but that didn't make those laws right or just.
Many states continue to have sodomy laws on the books too, but that doesn't make those laws right or just either.
Same goes with the "law" regarding standardized testing in New York State.
Giving standardized tests that have been rigged to fail 70% of the children in the state may be the law, but that doesn't make that law right or just.
Implicit in her statement that giving the tests is "the law" is that legal action can be used against people who flout that law.
She has already said any educator who supports or encourages opt outs is "unethical," so you know when she dangles legal threats around over opt out, that's who she's aiming at.
If Elia wants to threaten legal action against teachers who support the Opt Out movement - go for it.
With opt out rates going from 5% in 2014 to 20% in 2015, I can understand why Elia feels threatened over the Opt Out movement.
But threatening legal action against teachers who support opt out, I don't think that's going to be a winning proposition for her.
When push comes to shove, will she get back-up from the Legislature or the governor in a battle over the tests?
Governor Cuomo is a huge fan of bashing and scapegoating teachers, but even he has tread lightly around the testing and opt out issue, knowing that there is a growing opt out movement in the state that can hurt him politically.
It remains to be seen what Elia can do to teachers other than threaten them for supporting opt out - unless she wants NYSED to engage in thousands of 3020a disciplinary cases over opt out, that is.
Is that the plan?
If so, it will be interesting to see how that goes.
Another thing that's not a winning proposition for Elia - equating support for opt out with ignorance on the part of parents.
Elia keeps saying (echoing Regents Chancellor Tisch) that NYSED has to get the message out to parents why testing is swell and kids should shut up and take their tests.
Elia even said last week that support for opt out is "not reasonable" - a statement that equates parent support for opt out with insanity.
This isn't sitting well with some parents:
When asked if she thinks opt out will continue to grow, Elia replied: “It’s incumbent upon us to get information and support out to those educators and leaders across New York … I think we have a lot of work to do in terms of communication and we have to do it a multiple levels.”
Some parents, like Jessica McNair, say they already are informed about Common Core and the opt-out movement should not be dismissed as a lack of information.
“I think she has a lot to learn about the parents in New York State,” McNair said. “We’re not going to back down until we see tests that are developmentally appropriate, and tests that are decoupled from the teacher evaluations.”
Opt Out CNY, which has 4,120 members, already has a 2015-16 refusal letter available to parents on its website — and some already have it signed and in their child’s book bags for the first day of school, McNair said.
Elia was supposedly hired because she is a "listener" and "consensus-builder."
From what I see so far, we've got John King Part Deaux, another a tone deaf corporate education reform water carrier for an NYSED Commissioner who reflexively attacks parents and teachers when they don't agree with her.
Let's see how that show plays over the next school year.