Wait Until You See What the Department of Education Is Going to Do to Us


MaryEllen Elia, New York Education Commissioner

The way elites in power do business now is to bully, threaten and coerce. That new approach can be seen so well in the handling of Common Core. New York is currently undergoing massive changes as a direct result of Common Core and you need to know what they are because it’s coming to a state near you.

New York is using the Core to force testing and evaluation criteria on districts and districts are losing all local control. The State Education Department is developing their plan to coerce the public to go along with the U.S. Department of Education.

The federal government insisted that tests be tied to teacher evaluations to get the Race to the Top money. They claim they can account for poverty, deprivation and all the other subjective factors that go into a student’s performance. They are trying to make the art of teaching into a science in the most illogical ways. Parents are very aware of what is going on and there is a grassroots movement against Common Core and the testing tied to it.

The elite like to say that the opponents are ill-informed and just don’t understand how valuable their system is. When you are of the elite, you are also arrogant and disdainful of those with whom you disagree.

New York is the best example of how Common Core will work throughout the nation if it isn’t stopped.

Despite intense pushback by both liberals and conservatives, the New York Education Department has moved forward, not only with the Common Core standards, but with the testing which will in essence nationalize education once they become standard throughout the country. Conservatives are also concerned about the decidedly leftist bent of some Core-aligned texts.

When the public rose up by opting their children out of the meaningless testing, the Department of Education threatened to punish the school districts and even take them over. Now they are actually going to proceed with their threats.

First thing New York’s Department of Education is going to do this year is to take over 144 schools, five on Long Island, because they are underperforming. The five they are taking over are in poor minority districts. It’s the same teachers in all these districts. The differences are problems of poverty, drugs, gangs, and broken homes.

State Ed did this before and failed miserably, most notably in Roosevelt schools in Nassau County which has a high minority population and serious drug and gang problems. After failing, the State turned it back over to the community.

Elia has made it clear that she is going after the parents who opted their children out of the oppressive tests, one of the few tools parents have to fight with.

Long Island had the highest concentration of opt-outs or 44% of the eligible students. Elia’s answer to the parents’ concerns is to assert her newly-assumed power over local schools. She is threatening the public. “It’s not going to happen this year – I can tell you that,” Elia told Newsday.

These people work for the taxpayers but have no fear or regard for them.

Federal law allows withholding of financial aid from districts when student test participation falls below 95%. This financial aid is mostly local school district money and, before we had a Department of Education, it didn’t pass through their hands, which creates ever more waste and inefficiency.

The opponents to these tests are middle class mothers, educators, unions, administrators and other members of the academic community. There are too many tests, children who shouldn’t be tested are tested, and they are often not age-appropriate and in the end, no one is allowed to know what the scores actually mean.

The entire teacher evaluation process is a joke and, in New York, it’s especially bad thanks to Governor Cuomo who’s as dumb as a box of rocks.

The devil is in the details.

Teacher evaluations aren’t of any value to teachers because they only get a score. The formula is a secret. It’s a gotcha system, not a system to help teachers improve.

The State is obviously not looking to see teachers improve because no one, not even administrators, has a clue as to how they arrived at the score.

No teacher can possibly get 100, no matter how good they are because part of their score is based on the entire school’s performance.

Many are trying to stop the extent to which teacher evaluations are tied to the tests because of how the Big Government is using them to literally abuse people. For example, there aren’t any tests for gym teachers, art and music teachers, among others, so districts have to use language arts or math test results to evaluate them.

This isn’t just the problem in New York. It’s the problem with Big Government taking over education. In Florida, teachers were receiving scores based on students they had never seen.

Higher scores hurt the teacher evaluations. If a school has high-achieving students who always score in the top one percentile, there is nowhere for them to go so teachers are penalized even though they are continuing their success. High achieving students are so high achieving, they can’t show progress as defined by the Big Government.

In schools with poor achievers, the students can go from low failing to high failing and the teachers will still be highly rated. Urban schools with the poorer performing students end up being rated higher than outstanding schools in suburbs like Scarsdale because of the unfair grading system.

Teachers are going from the low end of effective to the high end of effective based on the class they are given and it has nothing to do with their performance.

Cuomo’s cronies in the Education Department are pretending the test scores don’t reflect 50% of the teachers’ evaluations but they are twisting the truth. There is a good article at The Washington Post that explains the white lie our government likes to tell.

There is a lawsuit challenging this insanity in New York.

Shari Lederman was always regarded as an accomplished teacher in Great Neck Schools, a district of very high-achieving students. Her students were always successful and she was always evaluated as a good teacher but once the Common Core tied tests came in, she suddenly had a score of 1 out of 20.

Her reaction went from stunned to anger. There was no way to find out why she was a 1. Fortunately, her husband is a lawyer and she sued.

The case was heard in August and there should be a decision in October. The judge grilled the State Education Department lawyers and couldn’t find out how the scores are derived, however, the State did finally have to admit that the teachers’ so-called growth score is based on a Bell Curve. As a result, even if all kid’s show growth, some teachers have to fail.

School districts in New York are losing control of grading teachers locally and the State is taking over in a destructive manner. Local schools are losing control over curriculum and testing as well. Read this and weep all of you in other states – you’re next.

Elia is looking to first call superintendents and ask them what they will do differently next time should parents opt-out – superintendents are not allowed to exercise their good educational judgement – and if she doesn’t like that answer, she will cut federal Title I funds.

The first threat is to cut funding but the state dictators have made it clear the next step is to take over the schools. They want all control anyway. Common Core is not about local control, it’s about Big Government control over education and in New York, we are starting to see what that means.


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7 years ago

As you know, I’ve got no patience with Common Core supporters or educrats.. New York Parents have done a great job of fighting both, so far.. But the big money behind Common Core isn’t going to go away quietly..

If they can manage to own a generation of school kids, they own the country..

If you can get 44% to opt out of tests, maybe you can get 44% to shut down the schools for a week.. if the remaining students see their friends aren’t there on Monday and Tuesday, by Friday the schools will be empty of students.. and Albany will be worried.

7 years ago

Fran beat me to it. All the public school abuses could be ended tomorrow if people didn’t send their kids to these indoctrination centers. They’re nothing but highly paid babysitters.

Francis W. Porretto
7 years ago

At this time, putting a child in “public school” at any grade level is an act of child abuse.

Let the educrats have the “public schools.” Then leave them empty.

7 years ago

Amen!!! Don’t put kids into the government machine. I will not teach on public school because of common core. A lot of real teachers are leaving and pretty soon we will get cookie cutter teachers and robot children.