Thursday, August 13, 2015

MaryEllen Elia--One, Needy Kids--Zero

Showing all the sensitivity of a sledge hammer, MaryEllen Elia demonstrated forcefully that all her talk about meeting with concerned parties and listening was just that. Otherwise, why would she threaten to withhold Title 1 funds from the neediest students in the state for the offense of opting out of state exams?

This comes just after Elia met with a group of activist parents and Diane Ravitch. So clearly she's willing to sit down and listen. Unfortunately she has a corporate agenda and doesn't give a golly gosh darn about common sense. In Spanish, actually, there's a saying that common sense is the least common of all the senses.

I'm not sure what sort of a person would take money away from the poorest students in the state simply because parents from their school, maybe theirs, maybe not, would see fit not to make their kids sit through largely meaningless tests. But it's absolutely clear Elia is that person.

And Elia does not need any sort of extensive program to determine who does well on tests. The trend is clear, and it has been ever since we've embarked upon this nonsensical program of making all kids college ready, whether or not they intend to go to college. It's been clear ever since we decided that all kids, no matter what their disabilities, no matter what their backgrounds, no matter whether or not they knew English, were going to take the same tests no matter what.

That pattern is this--where there is high income, there are high grades. Where there is low income, there are low grades. Where there are few disabilities, there are few low grades. Where there are many disabilities, there are many low grades.

What Elia proposes to do, of course, is to take money away from districts. This money is specifically earmarked to help kids who need it most. Any person who actually cared about the progress of our neediest students would never, ever consider such a thing.

Last year, there was a resolution in the UFT Delegate Assembly to vote no confidence in MaryEllen Elia. It failed. This year we know that MaryEllen Elia is capable of threatening the most vulnerable of our children. I now have no confidence in her whatsoever and frankly, I question why anyone who cared about children would.

Of course if I were Andrew Cuomo, bought and paid for by the reformies, I'd be jumping up and down. If I were Bill Gates, who gave her a ton of money back in Hillsborough, I'd be doing cartwheels. If you want to decimate union, reforminess is just fantastic. If you want to privatize education and make money for your hedge-funder BFFs, reforminess is a bonanza.

But if you want what's best for the neediest children in NY State, you don't want MaryEllen Elia's ideas anywhere near a public school.
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