New York’s new commissioner is all about punishing us.

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http://dianeravitch.net/2015/08/12/ny-commissioner-elia-promises-to-punish-opt-outs-next-year/.

http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2015/08/8574121/after-widespread-protest-schools-can-be-sanctioned-opt-out-figures#

Have you seen this? Is she listening to anyone but Cuomo? Cause she surely has already broken her promise to listen to us. What will come of this threat is more parents being strong armed by principals, superintendents and even teachers who fear for their jobs, into allowing their children to sit for these abusive, meaningless tests. A war is coming on the horizon between Nysed and parents. That much is clear. Threatening schools means threatening parents. No other way to view that. And that, is surely not listening. No wonder she was hired in secret. She knows how to stamp all over our rights and New York would never have allowed her to work here.

And there’s this.

http://blog.timesunion.com/capitol/archives/239737/state-releases-ela-math-test-scores-about-20-percent-of-students-opted-out/

Retired teacher Denis Ian shares his thoughts,

“I guess New Yorkers must be a special kind of dumb. Aren’t we supposed to have a special case of the “hopefuls” because of this cluster of dogmatic statements from Tisch and Elia?

C’mon, tell me you’re not all puffed up about these stellar scores that have inched up … by inches! Elia’s mildly delighted because she sees “continued improvement’. That’s sort of like a Titanic deckhand reporting that ” … with any luck … we shouldn’t sink before the band runs out of songs.”

Language learners, minorities and special education youngsters all take special hits in this report. Bruising hits. Unnecessary bruising hits. Why? Why are these learners subjected to the exact same criteria as every other child in the state? Aren’t their circumstances special and unique? And shouldn’t our educational philosophy respond uniquely and in a special fashion? I mean, that almost seems to be the law of the land in this society … why not here? Instead, we beat these kids down … and we beat down their pants … and their teachers, too. And tell me … what’s the cheerful message here? I can’t find it … and I’ve looked everywhere. Can anyone spotlight hope here? Better yet … can anyone find a smile?

Yes, it’s likely that the more able students opted-out … and the scores are somewhat compromised. Does that actually matter? Not to me. And I don’t think it much matters to you either. However, they seem to matter a ton to those holding this testing hot potato because it provides a spin-moment. Few are fooled.

What matters is the amount of time this testing consumes, the anxiety these tests create, the dreadful student feedback, the questionable use of scores to evaluate teachers, and the cost in dollars and ln lost educational opportunities.

Of course, you won’t find those questions answered in this testing encyclical. Not a word. Just gobs and gobs of tortured language and mega-tortured statistics. Remember what they said about statistics?
“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Yup. But that hasn’t stopped Elia and Tisch from from trying their damnedest.

Tisch has one of the best one-liners in this entire report: “We must do more to ensure that our parents and teachers understand the value and importance of these tests for our children’s education.” Pssst … that’s YOU. YOU don’t understand … because, as I said, YOU must be a special kind of dumb. You’ve been at this issue for years now … and you’re still disappointing Meryl Tisch. As penance, you should outfit yourself with a jester’s hat so you can be identified wherever you roam. It’s like the Middle Ages all over again! Everyone’s in the dark … except of a select few … and you ain’t one them. Put that hat on.

I have bad news … Elia one-upped Tisch in the word-drivel contest.
“We must also do a better job of explaining to parents the benefits of higher standards and annual testing …”. You ungrateful parents …. here’s the State Education Department busting their chops to color your children’s world a fresh color called success … and you can’t look beyond those excruciating hours of homework that have sabotaged family life throughout the state. What’s a bucket of tears when success might be just around … around somewhere, someplace? Maybe buried in these statistics!

You’ve all overlooked the sacrifices that have made these dreadful test scores possible … like doing away with recess and cutting back on chorus and band and art and laughing. You’d think you parents would send Elia love notes thanking her for changing the climate of your school to one consumed by testing and then teaching to that testing. Who doesn’t love boredom and curiosity-liking? And don’t fret about a slew of teachers leaving the profession … and hauling away years of teaching talent and wisdom. The State Education folks are absolutely certain that there was at least one slacker in the brigade. And the Teach for America posse is on stand-by and ready to go … one they learn to tie their shoes and turn a door knob.

Perhaps this is too flippant, but it seemed unwise to be serious about stuff that’s so unreal and so inherently ignorant. Ridicule was all that was actually possible because … if we engage them and attempt a discussion of these weird bits of information, well, we’re then giving their sickness some sort of legitimacy. That’s not right.

So, hats on! Fools we are … and proud of it. This opt-out offensive is on the re-load. The best is yet to come. And that’s something worth whispering to your children.”

-Denis Ian

Elia was hand picked to further seal the deal. Let’s call a spade a spade. Punish schools is punishment of teachers and parents by administrators, to protect their interests, lest they be punished by NYSED. SHAME on these people. Education has become a dictatorship and our children are pawns.

New York parents love their teachers. How sad to pit parents against school staff this way.

Enclose your refusal letter with your school supplies. Stand strong. Do not quit, for you know who is watching- your children.

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