This toolkit is intended to help superintendents communicate with parents and educators in their districts about the value and importance of the annual Grades 3-8 English Language Arts and Math Tests. The toolkit is completely optional and contains customizable materials such as a letter to parents, a PowerPoint presentation about the higher learnings standards and assessments, and sample Twitter and Facebook posts. Superintendents are encouraged to check out these materials and use them if they would be an effective way to reach their parents and educators. Additional resources will be added in the coming weeks and months, so please check back often.
Peter Greene nailed the absurdity of the site in his post on it earlier today, so if you haven't read his piece, you should go over and do so now.
The thing I need to say here is, I always thought new NYSED Commissioner MaryEllen Elia was full of it when she said she was going to listen to parents and educator concerns over Common Core and the Endless Testing regime.
That comment she made early on, that she wanted to"repaint" the Common Core so that parents would see how swell it was always stuck with me and came immediately to mind as I perused her "Tests are awesome!" toolkit.
In the letter she sent to superintendents selling the toolkit, Elia wrote:
My goal is to reduce opt outs by educating parents and teachers about the benefits of implementing higher learning standards and the important information annual testing provides. I will continue to travel the state, meeting and engaging parents and educators while working with you and your districts to help encourage families to fully participate in the New York State educational program.
There you have it - the MaryEllen Elia "I'm Listening" tour actually is a misnomer.
It's really the MaryEllen Elia "Testing is Awesome!" tour and it's coming to a town near you.
If not, Elia has provided superintendents with "tools" to put on a show of their own:
The toolkit is designed to help superintendents communicate with parents and educators about the higher learning standards and the assessments. In my experience, the more information parents and teachers have about the tests, the more likely they are to participate. These tests are not a means of punishment but rather are a diagnostic tool used to make decisions about student instruction and teacher training. They are also the only objective measure we have to know how well all of our students, schools, and districts are doing. I ask you to examine these optional resources, and if you choose to, customize them for your school community and share them with your parents and educators.
Nothing new in the script, that's for sure (we need this data to know how kids are doing!!!) - but at least we can now dispense with the jive that Elia's listening to parent and educator concerns.
This "toolkit" proves she could care less what parents and educators think or feel about Common Core or the Endless Testing regime - she wants them to simply shut up and have the kids take their tests.
This is all about knocking down those opt out numbers in April - as is Cuomo's Common Core task force, which also isn't all that interested in hearing from anybody who doesn't already agree with the governor.
In any case, I'm going to wager that Elia's "Repaint The Core" show doesn't go over so well with either parents or teachers, that it actually has the opposite effect Elia hpes it will have.