Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Perdido Street School Reader: Elia Not Softening Stance On Opt Out At All

A Perdido Street School reader left this comment today on whether MaryEllen Elia "softened" her stance on the Opt Out movement with her comments to NPR and Time Warner News yesterday:

She has not softened her stance one bit, insofar as we are clear as to her stance previously. Her stance...her real that their focus for pushing back against opt out will be against TEACHERS. Everything else is static and noise, but one thing is clear, Elia will use the resources at her disposal to go after teachers.

She doubled down on this, in fact, in these statements, especially in the CapTon report where she talks about "ethical" lines and whatnot. Elia and Cuomo and everyone else has softened their language for parents, the tests themselves, kids...but never once did they soften on teachers. Stay focused on that.

Now, what about this "ethical line" Elia talks about? My response, as a teacher, is that I: 1) do not have a daddy issue or a need for an authority figure(s) in my life in general. I am a fully realized adult. I know this is difficult for many to understand as our profession has ALOT of people with daddy issues. 2) do not need anyone drawing ethical lines for me. If I needed someone to draw those lines or coach me on those lines, well then it wouldn't be ethics anymore. It would just be a law or rule IMPOSED. 3) When did the New York State Commissioner for Education become a source for and expert on ethics? Where in her job description is that? How is that gained? What coursework in philosophy, ethics itself, anthropology, sociology, history etc. does she have that allows her to speak on ethics in HER PROFESSIONAL CAPACITY? We are really getting into dangerous and murky territory when a state-level bureaucrat speaks to ANYBODY from her position on ethics and ethical behavior. I have to show my degree and coursework to NYS to prove that I am competent to be a social studies teacher, why shouldn't Elia be forced to show us what qualifies her as an ethics expert, coach, and leader?

What if my ethics tell me that speaking out for Opt Out is not only a good thing to do, but a DUTY AS AN EDUCATOR WHOSE FIRST INTEREST IS TO NOT BRING HARM TO HIS STUDENTS? I can defend that ethical position from a legal, historical, philosophical, and professional perspective. Who is Elia to tell me I am wrong, and if she does it should be a requirement for her to show me where she gets to have that position and do something about it. One cant pull ethics calls out of their asses as they see fit here. She is spouting off and saying deeply arbitrary shit. We need to call her on it.

I think we as vocal teachers should work to have folks in our union (yeah right!) and the media press Elia very hard on her comments regarding ethics. Force her to double down and step deeper into a very very sticky swampy mud, OR come clean and admit that she is out of her depth and way way way out of her job description even bringing up the word ETHICS.

Someone told me once, maybe in college, maybe not, that when someone starts spouting off about their arbitrary views on ethical or moral behavior and holding them up as the bars YOU SHOULD BE MEETING, well, clearly they are just about out of any reasonable arguments. After that will come straight up ad hominem attacks and name calling. Alot of folks like to say that that is the point when we win. I disagree. That is usually the point when our side looks for a seat at the table and gives up something else.

I completely agree, Elia's not softening her stance against opt out - not when it comes to teachers she isn't.

She's as tone deaf as John King, so someone must have told her saying parents who choose to opt their children out of the state tests are "unreasonable" was stupid and she needed to clean up the mess that statement caused.

So she goes on TV and radio and says, Parents have the right to opt their kids out of the tests, but I'm going to educate them so that they know the tests are the swellest thing since the no-cal pizza Ralph Kramden invested in and they should send their kids to take the tests...

But lurking under that remains the threat that if districts have similar opt out rates next year (or worse, higher rates), she's going to come down on them with her "toolbox" which, as one commenter noted, will have a 3020a disciplinary hearing wrench in it.

Nothing's changed here:

Elia remains a fan of the testing, the Common Core, the Endless Testing regime and imposed policy from Albany.

She remains an opponent of parents opting their children out of the tests and educators speaking their minds about opt out.


  1. Someone out there in RBE land help me understand how on earth this person was selected after being voted out in Florida. It just staggers the imagination!

    1. Read the following two pieces and your imagination will stagger some more:

    2. Elia got a parachute (silver) from Florida. I think she is working a second parachute (silver) . Silver + silver makes a golden parachute and a cozy retirement. Remember we have shysters and laughing stocks running the Regents.

    3. $1 million for getting fired in Tampa, $250K at NYSED - good point about the parachutes.

    4. Just printed out and signed opt out letters for my children for this year. F--- you Elia!

  2. I feel so left out having only adult children. I am strongly considering having more kids just so I can opt them out. Not sure if my wife is on board, but then again this testing madness will be long gone in six years.

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