Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Commissioner Elia resigns; let's hope for a better one next time!

The serious concerns we expressed yesterday and shared with the Board of Regents about NYSED's new proposed privacy regs were overwhelmed in news of Commissioner Elia's sudden resignation.  What wasn't reported on in the media crush, at least as far as I've noticed, is that the Regents were set to discuss whether to fire her during their annual retreat that started yesterday afternoon.  Clearly, Elia jumped the gun with her announcement and as a result, she was able to control the narrative, with many of the news stories featured overly positive review of her regime.

Last year, the final RAND report on the teacher evaluation project was released, showing that the initiative she led in Hillsborough County before she was fired by that school board and came to NY had no positive results and in fact, resulted in less access to effective teachers for high-needs kids.  In addition, the initiative left the district in severe fiscal disarray.

I recall when NYSAPE members and I met with her after she was first appointed in 2015.  We detailed the issues with the invalid, overly long and developmentally inappropriate state tests and Common Core standards, as well as many other problems ranging from the state's refusal to oversee the increases in NYC class sizes to their laggardly pace in enforcing the 2014 student privacy law.  She said very little, but ended by claiming that somehow, all the problems with the tests would be solved by putting them online. Never did I suspect it would take four more years for them to issue regulations to enact the 2014 student privacy law, and when they did they would attempt to eliminate the ban against selling student data or using it for marketing purposes.

During her time in NY, she never seemed to grasp just how awful the tests were, and compounded their abusive nature by administering them untimed, which led to some children spending up to six hours or more a day trying to make sense out of them, until they collapsed in frustration. Nor did she make the changes in the standards that many of the early childhood experts on her own advisory committees demanded. Her modus operandi seemed to be to form myriad committees and advisory boards, and post numerous surveys, but then pretty much ignore all the public input she received.

As the NYSAPE press release says, let's hope the Board of Regents work with parents and other stakeholders in the appointment of  a new Commissioner this time who will steer the state in a better direction; the last four have been pretty awful.  The press release has a hopeful title.  We shall have to see whether indeed this the end of the state's long-lasting, damaging corporate reform agenda.

No comments: