Education Commissioner Threatens Schools, Parents Over Common Core Opt Out Numbers

It’s really becoming a tired song and dance on two fronts. Any time schools, parents and students mount a protest to the Common Core standards and testing in New York state, two things happen.  Supporters threaten them with funding sanctions, and they redouble efforts to explain why Common Core is such a good thing for kids.  Because you know, parents are just too stupid to know what’s right for their kids.

Now that new state education commissioner, MaryEllen Elia, has stepped in, it’s ‘next verse, same as the first’ time in New York.  She recently responded to the news that 20% of student in New York did not take the Common Core tests.

Via Politico New York:

Individual schools could lose funding if large numbers of students opt out of state standardized tests in April, state education commissioner MaryEllen Elia said on Wednesday.

Of the 1.1 million students eligible to take state exams in math and English language arts exams this year, nearly 20 percent, or 200,000 students, opted out.

The state Education Department is in conversations with the U.S. Department of Education working on a plan regarding possible sanctions for districts with high opt-out rates, Elia said.

In the conference call with reporters, Elia said the sanctions weren’t clearly defined and could simply consist of a phone call to superintendents asking what happened and what they plan to do differently next year. But it’s also possible that federal Title I funds will be withheld, she said.


Assemblyman Steve McLaaughlin (R) explains that these threats are nothing new.

Same tired threats: Commissioner Elia threatens sanctions on schools for #optout #’s. King did the same. Didn’t work. #StopCommonCore

— Steve McLaughlin (@SteveMcNY) August 12, 2015

As Fred LeBrun wrote, King spent much of his tenure ‘pretending to listen, but he kept at it.’

Education Secretary Arne Duncan did the same, threatening schools time and again should the students rebel and opt out of the testing.  He told parents that the feds would “have an obligation to step in,” even implying that they were racist for even thinking about opting out.

It looks like more of the same with Elia.  And here is her tired response in having to re-educate the parents on the Common Core standards.

Via the Poughkeepsie Journal:

“We must…do a better job of explaining to parents the benefits of higher standards and annual testing,” said state Education Department Commissioner MaryEllen Elia in a statement.

McLaughlin tweeted that perhaps it’s time to listen to the parents instead of trying to force a change of mind.

On her “listening tour” Ed. Commissioner Elia should listen to the anti-bullying messages at schools instead of threatening our schools.

— Steve McLaughlin (@SteveMcNY) August 12, 2015

Instead, it’s the same ol, same ol’ with education in New York state.

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