Well parents, our new NYSED Commissioner has just announced that you are being unreasonable if you refuse to subject your kid to high stakes tests that are fraught with errors and questions from grade levels several above your kid's. Teachers, if you condone or promote Opting Out of high stakes tests that are useless to you as a prescriptive or diagnostic tool, chew up valuable hours of teaching time and cause your students unnecessary grief and angst, Commissioner Elia says you are unethical.
The fact that she said all this while cloistering with an astroturf group of phonies bankrolled by -- who else -- Bill Fucking Gates tells us everything we need to know. My first encounter with Eedjits 4 Excrement was a video one of the NYC bloggers posted of an E4E rally where the assembled dolts clad in green winter hats were spouting off about the excellence of VAM in evaluations among other reformy topics. The blogger in question asked one of them to explain exactly his understanding of the VAM process and how it would benefit education. The response was staggering. It was akin to an old nature movie of the elderly zebra trying to negotiate its way out of the mudpit while the lioness circled and closed in for the kill. The poor dope had no idea what to say once he finished with his platitudes and chanting. He ended up turning away from the camera in shame and it appeared the guy filming him even felt a little bad for him on some human level. It was instructive though as it showed me the shallow, mindlessness behind this group. E4E appeared to be a gang of young idealistic and self righteous would be teachers bought off with some hats and banners and a handful of slick anti union operatives who could whip them up with nonsensical signs like "We Crave Feedback!" "Tell Us How We're Doing!" And of course said feedback would come in the reformy form of test scores and VAM scores that would surely tell you not how you're doing as a teacher but how close you are to one of the expedited 3020-A hearings we're hearing so much about.
A local Superintendent asked me the other day how Buffalo was supposed to improve their scores to whatever level the state has pulled out of the wizard's hat when his own suburban district filled with 2 parent families and negligible poverty was scoring as low as they are. I'm guessing Mary Ellen Elia would classify that kind of talk mutinous or at least unethical coming from someone engaged in the education of thousands of children.
That's because she's on the wrong side of the fight. Education is under attack and has been for the past decade at least by people who have no interest in education or in improving the quality of it for public school kids in America. The main interest of those attacking public education is financial. They do enlist educational hangers on to do their dirty work and work to destroy public education from the inside. People like Mary Ellen Elia and Kriner Cash are exactly the type of pseudo educators the ed reform movement like to put into power to soften up the terrain for eventual privatization. If Elia had any ethics or standards or morals of her own she wouldn't be caught dead in the company of an astroturfing band of phonies like Eedjits 4 Excrement. Fact is she's here temporarily same as Kriner Cash. Everything she says and does goes towards her greater CV, the one that's kept by people like Bill Gates and Eli Broad. No surprise she's worked so well with another shape shifter and self promoting pile of shit, the President for Life of AFT, Randi Weingarten. They're both on the same trajectory and where they are today matters little to them. It's where they can get to by doing the dirty work of billionaires in handing public education over to privatizers that gets them out of bed in the morning.
The message is clear. Elia is here to try to put a finger in the dike of the Opt Out gusher. She's made some threats and fades and is now entering the name calling phase of her pogrom against the Opt Outers. The fact that both Regents Chancellor Tisch and Gubner Andy have both said there won't be sanctions against opt out schools notwithstanding, MaryEllen Elia is not here to make nice and stand by nodding while Opt Out numbers soar. She's on a mission and she is obviously willing to get ugly about what she is willing to do to accomplish this mission and notch her ed reform belt so she can be promoted to the next outpost. Too bad her friends in UFT and NYSUT who all but rolled out the red carpet for her will not be able to protect her from the pissed off parents who told John King to STFU. If she thinks she's going to pick up in the same heavy handed and tone deaf manner where he left off I think she is in for a bumpy ride. It's always entertaining to see a bully get theirs. Mary Ellen Elia is a bully who doesn't seem to have really got hers yet. Here's to a great school year!