She was very "specific" (her word) that she opposes the Opt Out movement, thinks parents who opt their children out of state tests are "not reasonable," says educators who encourage or even just support the Opt Out movement are "unethical" and is doing everything she can to make sure opt out does not grow next year
Here is a partial transcript of her remarks on the Opt Out movement:
"I believe that people involved in the opt out movement are not aware of the use and support that assessments can give to what happens in a school and in a classroom and/or what happens in a district.
Let me give you an example. I was with a superintendent the other day and she said to me I had a very high opt out rate. Right now I'm not getting information back that can help me on what I need to provide for my teachers, what particular schools are doing really well with something, what I need to do in terms of academic interventions for students, because if you didn't take that you don't have as much information about that. And she said, it's - we're at a disadvantage.
So let me say this very clearly. I think opt out is something that is not reasonable. I understand that it can about as a result of people wanting to become involved in what they thought was the political way to approach it. I am absolutely shocked if - and I don't know this happened but if any educator supported and encouraged opt outs, I think it's unethical.
I believe that we have a responsibility as teachers to support our students. The realities of taking assessments that number one are state law and federal law and give information for teachers on things that they may have done well or not and give information to principals about what they need to do to support their schools and their teachers and tell us how well we are doing in places across this state where we have large populations of students that we won't have information on.
I don't agree with opt out. I will, uh, and am moving forward to do everything I can so that we can make sure that we don't have our opt out in any way grow and in fact when people I think become more aware of the importance of having the assessments...
There are ramifications that can occur. I'm not saying what will occur, I'm just saying there are. The federal government has the ability to withdraw funds from districts and we have the ability as the state to say to any educator that's not an ethical thing you're doing. We have the ability to say to a superintendent, um, I just want you to know that you are an officer of the state and encouraging people to not follow the law is not acceptable.
So I'm pretty specific about opt outs, I hope you all heard that."
On the very day Elia took a bat to parents and teachers who support opting children out of state tests, Governor Andrew Cuomo said he thought parents were in charge of their own children and he didn't think there should be any sanctions against districts with high opt out rates and Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch announced that there would be no sanctions from either the federal or state government on districts/schools with high opt rates.
Tisch did reserve the right to hit districts/schools with sanctions next year if she thought educators at those schools or districts were encouraging the Opt Out movement.
So Elia's still talking tough, but her words are mockable given the "ramification" tool she threatened earlier this summer over opt out has been taken from her by Cuomo and Tisch.
In short, here's where Elia is today:
New NYS ED Commish is : pic.twitter.com/65ds2IutRj— lacetothetop (@lacetothetop) August 21, 2015