The theme of the piece is how Elia is actually listening to parents, teachers and union leaders.
Sure she is:
“I’ve always been very involved with teachers and the things that happen in the classroom,” she said during a visit to Sweet Home High School in Amherst on Wednesday. “The parents, the teachers need to be very involved in how we improve education in New York.”
During visits to Buffalo, the Sweet Home district and Niagara Falls, Elia reiterated her call for high standards and more rigorous coursework to better prepare students for college and the workforce.
She leaned on her decades of experience working in schools in New York and Florida in her appeal to teachers, showing an understanding of and appreciation for the work they do in their classrooms.
At another Sweet Home district school, Glendale Elementary in the Town of Tonawanda, she commended staff – and in particular a fifth-grade math teacher – for work in improving student performance on the state assessments.
“Thank you so much,” she told the group. “Thank you all for your work.”
Oh please - the theme is the same from Elia as it was from her predecessor, John King:
Improve test scores or else.
You can even see it from the pat on the head she gave to the Glendale Elementary teacher for "improving student performance on the state assessments."
No one should be fooled by the PR, it's all about the tests and the test scores for Elia:
Elia later faced skeptical faces in meetings with teachers and parents at Sweet Home High, fielding many of the usual questions about evaluations, standardized tests and training for educators.
She promised to review the standards, look for areas to improve on and offer teachers support to implement them in their classrooms.
But she also held firm to the message she has delivered since taking over as commissioner – she will not back down in her push for higher standards.
The message from the Elia there is, nothing of substance in the state Endless Testing regime is changing, we're just making it look like we're listening to parents and educators concerns, but we're going to do what we want no matter what
Kathy Hochul said essentially the same thing yesterday:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s latest effort to examine Common Core isn’t an effort to pull the state away from the controversial education standards, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a radio interview on Wednesday.
Hochul told WCNY’s The Capitol Pressroom this morning that Cuomo “agrees with the goal” of the standards, but reiterated that the role out of standards was flawed.
“He is going to convene a commission of people who have studied this and thought about it, but also parents and educators to get their opinion,” she said in the interview.
Overall, the administration’s review of the standards is a stab at modifying Common Core in New York, Hochul said.
“He agrees with the goal of the Common Core standards, but the role out was flawed and it’s been confusing for parents as evidenced by the opt-out movement,” she said. “So, he has not said it’s going away. He has said, yes, we have standards in place, but let’s figure out how we can modify them.”
See what they're doing?
They're pushing some propaganda that they're listening, they're really listening, to parents and educators about Common Core and testing concerns and it's possible, just possible, that something about Common Core might be "modified."
Isn't that swell?
Nahh, because under all of that is the message that the standards and reform agenda will largely remain in place and nothing's really changing.
Here's how I think this plays out:
They'll tinker around the edges, find something that seems like it's a big give that isn't really much of a give (last time around, a Cuomo commission/panel recommended killing the inBloom data thing even though it was already on life support), then hail the "modifications" as a great improvement on what came before (and parent- and educator-led to boot!)
No one should be fooled by Elia's jive or the Cuomo/Hochul jive - the chances that anything really substantive will change about the Endless Testing regime and/or Common Core are about the same as Andrew Cuomo publicly apologizing to Bill de Blasio for being a jerk.
It isn't happening.
It's all about the tests and the test scores in New York and it will still be the way after the Cuomo/Tisch/Elia Common Core Review show closes down.