Elia could not be more out of touch with the needs of our schools. Alarm clocks are her answer.


At another gem of a meeting with Elia, we have heard of more ingenious remarks. Alarm clocks are the answer to the problems of student lateness and tardiness. Seriously? This is so ignorant it makes one want to cry.

She also praised EngageNY, the only possible thing even worse than common core itself.

She is convinced that education will convince the ignorant parents to stop the test refusal train, as she fully believes we know not what we do.

This is a joke, right?

Education activist Damon Buffum shares his head smacking moment from the meeting;

“Oh.. I almost forgot my favorite part of the discussion (at a recent meeting with Elia) a very thoughtful Board member commented that we were focused on the wrong issue; that poor student performance, especially in impoverished urban communities wasn’t an education issue it was a social issue. Schools and teachers were being held accountable for children that are not even coming to school and aren’t motivated to come at all or perform well. Elias response (?) – so crazy I had to bite my lip…. GIVE ALL THE KIDS FREE ALARM CLOCKS!! (I’m totally serious). “Kids love clocks and they’ll feel so empowered they’ll use the clocks to wake up on time!” But… If they still won’t wake up, partner with local social workers to GO TO THE CHILDS HOUSE AND WAKE THEM UP! “After a child is woken up 2 or 3 times, they’ll understand and get up by themselves.” I’m amazed that I didn’t think of those strategic solutions to raise test scores. Maybe we should create an alarm clock application for the iPhone and they could use that!!”
‪#‎goodluckwiththat‬ ‪#‎incrediblyoutoftouch‬ ‪

Teacher Emmy Thevanesan writes :

“I was at the school law conference today hearing Commissioner Elia speak. It was great that she spent so much time with us.

I’m a BOE member, but I’m also a teacher and a parent of young children, and I did not hear anyone today advocating for our kids. My question, albeit phrased passionately, was whether the Commissioner truly believes 65% of NYS’s kids are “failures” in math and ELA, and, based on the tests of the last three years, what she believes are the implications of so many children’s elementary experience being defined by these tests. She did not answer my question at all.

The Commissioner believes in tying teacher evaluations to test scores. She spoke with excitement about a future of online testing where students can take an assessment every quarter (or so), and their results on these tests would be directly tied to their teachers’ APPR scores.

Also to my dismay, EngageNY was repeatedly praised, and it is considered a great source of pride for NY that teachers all over the country are now using these modules. No one brought up that they are scripted lessons–would these Superintendents lead their districts from a script? I am still looking for a single teacher who believes in these modules. NYSUT hosted a focus group in March 2015 where teachers from our section of the state eviscerated the modules, and it was made very apparent that whether or not your district had adopted the modules was directly related to its affluence. I’m bewildered and a bit ashamed that NYSUT has not spoken out about the modules and created a list for the public so they can know if their children attend schools where teachers write their own lessons versus a school where lesson plans, assessments and homework assignments are downloaded from a website.

I wanted to ask more questions, but the tone of the room wasn’t conducive for what I wanted to ask. We were repeatedly reminded that the focus is the future, not the past. Shortly after I spoke, the Commissioner made the comment that de-stressing those who are determined to stay stressed was an impossible task. I did take that a bit personally. Am I stressed? Yes. My fear is that the parents who started this movement have children who are moving out of grades 3-8, and the parents of the kids entering won’t know what their children are missing. A gradual lowering of expectations…

I would have liked to ask about the Common Core review commission–in particular, what early childhood experts will be on the panel? I also wanted to ask what early childhood research supports the standards in their current state? These would have been great questions, but that’s not what came up today.”