Thursday, May 28, 2015

Reformier and Reformier--Will the Regents Jump to Our Aid?

It's kind of amazing, after hearing Michael Mulgrew place his faith in the Regents month after month, that they would nominate this woman, MaryEllen Elia, as NY State Commissioner of Education. After all, we're still not feeling the love for Reformy John King, who preached Common Core for our kids but Montessori for his own. She comes from Florida, one of the worst places there is for working teachers. Here's what activist principal Carol Burris has to say about her:

“It is now apparent why the Board of Regents did not reach out to stakeholder groups and inform them that she was a candidate–if her support for merit pay, the Common Core, Gates Foundation grants,  the formulaic dismissal of teachers, and school choice were known, certainly there would have been an outcry from New York parents and teachers who have had more than their fill of test-based reforms.  The message of 200,000 Opt Outs has not been heard.”

Given that, it's very hard to imagine this board coming to our rescue over the Cuomo/ Heavy Hearts Teacher Unemployment Plan. Nonetheless, as she supports Common Core, she won't need to fear UFT Presidents punching her face out and pushing it in the dirt. Still, things like "formulaic dismissal of teachers" are not getting me dancing in the aisles anytime soon.

The old song says, of New York, New York, "If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere." This begs the question, if you can't make it in Hillsborough County, Florida, how the hell are you going to make in in NYC? I suppose that depends very much on what you mean by making it. If making it means pushing every reformy piece of crap that comes down the pike, then she's got a good shot.

On the other hand, if making it entails respecting research from, you know, researchers and scientists and the like, we're not looking all that great. When the American Statistical Association declares that teachers only move scores by a factor of 1-14%, it's not clear that what we need is more reliance on VAM, the growth model, and/ or whatever junk science is in vogue this week. In fact, here's a quote that may give you pause:

“The Board of Regents made a strong choice in selecting MaryEllen Elia as New York State’s next education commissioner,” Jenny Sedlis, executive director of the pro-charter group, StudentsFirstNY, said in a statement.  

In case you don't know, StudentsFirstNY is an offshoot of the group Michelle Rhee started before she moved on up into the fertilizer biz. It's not likely this blog supports anything StudentsFirstNY does, because this group represents Rhee, Gates, Bloomberg and a whole lot of people who don't give a golly gosh darn about the kids I work with. More disturbing is the assertion in the article that unions are enthusiastic about this choice.

Any union leader expressing enthusiasm for MaryEllen Elia doesn't represent my interests, those of my colleagues, those of public school parents, or those of the kids we face every day of our lives.
blog comments powered by Disqus