Commissioner Elia

AimHighNY survey is not reflective of public opinion

Commissioner Elia reported to the Board of Regents regarding the AimHighNY survey on Monday.   According to her report:

 So far, about 71.5 percent of the feedback elicited through the survey has been “supportive of the standards,” according to the department’s presentation. The remaining 28.5 percent was not supportive.

Remember, this is a survey that is geared towards supporters. You must respond to individual standards and are not allowed to give general comments about the standards or problems with the ‘common core package’. There is no place for opposing views. And just like the state standardized cut scores, the NYS education department can produce the outcome they want.  Many parents who are opposed to Common Core, including myself, have not bothered to fill out the survey because it is considered to be a farce.

The Common Core standards have been publicly blasted around the state during the Common Core Task Force listening tours and task force members have got an earful.

Various reports from the Common Core Task Force listening tours so far:

Thoughts from task force members after first public meeting on October 29, 2015:

Task force chairman Richard Parsons said the meeting was “useful.”

“It gives you some sense of the heat and the passion under various points. You get a sense of how people feel about it, so that was useful,” said Parsons, a senior adviser at Providence Equity Partners and former Citigroup board chairman who led the governor’s education reform commission in 2012. “At some point in time, you need to get outside of the silver realm of just the experts, the people who spend all day, every day doing this and hear what parents think, what teachers think, what other educators who aren’t in the process think.”

Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, who chairs the chamber’s education committee, said she learned a lot from the meeting.

“There is certainly a lot of intensity around these changes here and clearly there were a lot of mistakes in the implementation and the rollout [of the Common Core standards], but also in the underlying concept,” Nolan said. “There was too much emphasis from the people who developed the Common Core on using testing as a sort and select mechanism.”

Nolan also questioned the amount of testing and “to link it so extensively to teacher evaluation.”

In addition to the task force, the state Education Department is reviewing the Common Core standards. Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, who also is on the task force, said the audience reaction Thursday showed how “involved and passionate” people are about the work that’s going on.

“We had some really great panelists tonight and I think they brought us a multiple set of views on various things,” Elia told POLITICO New York after the meeting. “I heard some things that I think we need to be looking at and those are many of the things I’ve been talking about, so I think we’re on the pathway.”

Parents, teachers at Common Core task force meeting bring the ‘heat’ – October 29, 2015

If Commissioner Elia can sit through the Common Core Task Force listening sessions and still retain the belief that the AimHighNY survey is giving a true picture of public sentiment, then she is really NOT listening to what the public is saying.  I also find it interesting that Commissioner Elia has her recommendations as a member of the Common Core Task Force ready before the listening tour is even completed.

The Commissioner is a member of all three work groups and this presentation outlines the anticipated recommendations from the Commissioner to the task force.

There is a public session tomorrow November 18, 2015 in Amherst New York.  How does Commissioner Elia know what is going to be said at that session before the listening session is held?  Is it not possible that some awesome testimony will reveal new perspectives about Common Core that will alter her thinking?

The AimHighNY survey, as it is being reported, is not an accurate indicator of public opinion regarding the Common Core State Standards.

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Notes:

  • You may provide public testimony to the Common Core Task Force via their website here through November 30, 2015.
  • The AimHighNY survey is available for input through the end of November.