Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, November 6, 2015

NYSED Commissioner MaryEllen Elia Declares War On Opt Out Movement

NYSED Commissioner MaryEllen Elia sent out a letter to superintendents around the state touting an NYSED "toolkit" for districts to use to "educate" parents about the wonders of the Endless Testing regime.

The toolkit amounts to a lame PR campaign that tries to sell the same old pro-testing talking points we've heard from ed deformers and educrats before.

To say the toolkit was not well-received by superintendents and parents is an understatement.

This is from this morning's Politico NY education email:

“One anti-testing group believes this will only ‘fuel’ the movement. ‘It’s a declaration of war,’ said Jeanette Deutermann, co-founder of anti-testing group New York State Allies for Public Education and administrator of Long Island Opt Out. ‘This is a marketing strategy they’re using …This is insane...’...  
When Patchogue-Medford schools superintendent Michael Hynes received the email and kit he said he felt ‘embarrassed’ and then ‘angry.’ ‘I was embarrassed for the state education department because to me it’s a waste of time and it’s a waste of money from their vantage point, a waste of energy to actually give superintendents a module, a script on how to engage parents.’ He promptly responded to the department, saying he “did not need a tool kit,” and deleted the email, Hynes said. Seventy percent of the Long Island district's 3,291 eligible students refused to take the April exams. More than 1,500 students already have handed in refusal letters for next spring's round of testing, he said…

Elia came into her NYSED gig saying she wanted to "repaint" the Common Core standards so that parents would see how swell they are.

This toolkit is part of the "repaint" job she's doing on CCSS and the Endless Testing regime, but it's difficult to see how using stale talking points about testing is going to help change perceptions of the Endless Testing regime:

“Shoreham-Wading River schools Superintendent Steven Cohen said he was hoping the tool kit was more up-to-date…’Unless the state education department and commissioner can really explain to people or address these questions in a way that people will accept, I think people are going to continue to wonder why these reforms are being pushed the way they are.’”

It's pretty clear from the way Cuomo's handling his CCSS review task force (i.e., trying to limit attendance) and  now from the Elia opt out toolkit that neither the governor nor the state educrats plan any substantive changes to the Common Core or the Endless Testing regime as currently constituted in this state.

If either of them think that stale talking points about testing and a dog and pony show about Common Core are going to fool parents and teachers who are fed up with the reform agenda, they are sorely mistaken.

If anything, they're going to fan the flames of the opt out movement when they say with a straight face "Hey, we listened and heard you!" when it's quite obvious they did not such thing and just continued on with their reform agenda despite words to the contrary.


  1. Heres the thing - - every time Cuomo/Elia/etc come out with a new statement, thing, or whatever, our side responds by saying "well this is going to just up the next opt out numbers even more!!" Well, maybe that is so, but I think that we are being played just a little. At this point the Cuomo/Elia/Reformer side has to realize that our rhetorical reaction to anything they do will be to say "you are jacking up opt out!"

    If they were even remotely savvy they would keep doing this, pushing our side into a chronic escalation of expectation for the 2015-2016 opt-out season. At this point our side is screaming quite loudly that we are going to double + the numbers from last year. The reformer side is, perhaps, betting that we overstate what the reality will be quite substantially, allowing them to carve out a place where they can, rhetorically at least, claim a victory. "Look, they projected X, it was >X, so we obviously have corralled opt-out!"

    My suggetion is for all of us to shut up about potential opt-out numbers. The more we proclaim, the more we are on the hook . If the numbers are in fact what we are projecting, great....lets enhance our rhetorical victory then by not forecasting it now. If the numbers aren't what we wanted, then our shutting up now will limit the other side's ability to claim a victory.

    1. You make an interesting point but I can assure you that you ascribe a great deal more thought, strategy and intelligence to State Ed than it deserves or has ever shown.

    2. It's the pols and educrats who are on the defensive these days. That's why Cuomo's running his third education commission since 2011, that's why he's claiming he's "led the nation" in limiting testing time, that's why he had his director of state operations write a commentary in the Times Union pushing back against some criticism of Cuomo's ed policy that had been published there.

      Same goes for NYSED - that's what the toolkit is about, that's what the PR about Elia being a "listener" is about.

  2. 10:48

    They will claim victory as they row merrily along no matter what we say or do.

    Abigail Shure

  3. She will not be employed come years end

  4. As the father of two fifth grade children in public school, my opt out "tool-kit" is being sent to their teachers and principal first thing Monday morning as we opt our children out of the garbage your office spews on behalf of Governor "Commission", Andrew Cuomo.

    Commissioner "Tool-kit"...why don't you come to my house with a Cuomo-esque entourage and force my children to take the Common Core garbage that I can compare my children to the good folks of International Falls, Minnesota, Sioux City, Iowa, Evanston, Illinois, and Wichita, Kansas...

    After all, I must admit, I have lost many a night of sleep wondering how my children are doing compared to Americans from all over the country. But I would also ask in return, to know how well the Gates children, the Duncan children, the Obama children, and the Cuomo/Elia children are doing as well.

    Please Ms Elia...Mr Cuomo...this is about accountability and measure...the people of New York would like to rest assured that your relatives, too...are well prepared to be college and career ready for the 21st Century.

    Either show us where your loved ones measure on the Common Core scale, or take your exams and stick them where they the toilet where they belong.

    Now, take your diseased privatization movement...the one that you both have become prostitutes for...and get the hell out of our public schools...out of our communities, and out of our children's lives...before we take any and every available action against you.

  5. Politics in 21st Century New York

    Cuomo presents his Third Education Commission...
    ...another $100,000 political contribution from a salivating billionaire

    Elia presents the Common Core Testing "Tool-kit"...
    ...the best wrenches and pliers and hammers to bang even the most ethically educated academician into compliance...
    ...another $25,000 "bonus" from a billionaire or the governor, or anyone who will pa he for "services rendered"

    Compliments of the "commission" governor and the "re-branding" commissioner...

    Two fraudulent criminals...that would do New York the most good...behind bars for the remainder of their lives.

  6. Positive aspects of your letter writing abilities does used to bring something good to your own interest furthermore there would be every reason to believe on various other activities bringing about good results.

  7. Indeed a better prospects mentioned quite in detail and will generally reflects towards great understanding and any of the professionals would see will forma good understanding to his mind.