Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Message To NYSED Commissioner Elia: Threats, Punitive Actions Will Only Increase Opt Outs

Last week NYSED Commissioner MaryEllen Elia threatened "ramifications" if the Opt Out movement continued to grow across New York State.

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:

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.


  1. She has it backwards. The parents don't work for her. She works for the parents.
    They can threaten all they want. They wouldn't be so stupid to to go through with a Nazi-style response.
    Opt-out parents already have one foot in the door. It won't take much effort to kick it wide open.
    You don't mess with someone's kids unless you are an idiot.

  2. Programs that are good for kids do not need to be forced upon school districts...Do you understand that Elia? We need to go over 50% next year send a message that we are going to take back our schools!