Standardized testing can break a student

Florida Superintendents Announce They Have Lost Confidence in the State Accountability System

As you read this announcement from Florida school superintendents**, please remember that our new commissioner MaryEllen Elia has been most recently employed as a superintendent in Florida and has been touting her support of the Florida testing and evaluation systems since her arrival this past summer.

From the announcement:

Florida superintendents have consistently defended and supported accountability, the new Florida Standards, and the need to accurately measure student performance. At this time, FADSS is compelled to provide a position regarding the recent actions of the Department of Education (DOE) and the State Board of Education (SBE).

Florida district school superintendents have lost confidence in the current accountability system for the students of the State of Florida.

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Commissioner Elia told us she would be going on ‘listening tours’ around the state to hear from stakeholders when she started her job.  There hasn’t been much ‘listening’ going on on the tours though. Commissioner Elia already has her mind made up about Common Core regardless of what New York parents think.

A Siena College poll found that 64% of Néw York voters either oppose Common Core or thinks it has made no difference.

She also said, ““The United States used to lead the world educationally, but we’ve fallen to the middle of the pack. Our students are lagging behind, and the global economy is growing more competitive every day.”

Actually, that’s not true. The U.S. never led the world on test scores. When the first international tests were given in the 1960s, the U.S. students came in last. Yet over the next 50 years, our nation surpassed the other 11 nations that took the same test by every measure: economic productivity, technological innovation, military might, creativity, and democratic institutions. The test scores of 15-year-olds do not predict our future. The policies of our government, the decisions of corporations to outsource jobs, our treatment of our children and communities matter more.  – “Elia:  We Are Sticking with Common Core, No Matter What the Public Thinks” – Diane Ravitch September 25, 2015

I wonder if Commissioner Elia would be listening to her fellow superintendents if she was still employed in Florida?

If you missed all the questions and concerns associated with the hiring of Commissioner Elia back the end of May 2015, check them out here.  A few of the highlights:

A former school superintendent in Florida who led efforts to tie teacher evaluations and pay to student achievement and was fired after clashing with her board was appointed New York State’s education commissioner on Tuesday.  – “MaryEllen Elia named New York State Education Commissioner” New York Times

From Valerie Strauss, Washington Post Answer Sheet May 26:

Carol Burris, an award-winning principal in New York, said this about Elia:

“It is now apparent why the Board of Regents did not reach out to stakeholder groups and inform them that she was a candidate–if her support for merit pay, the Common Core, Gates Foundation grants,  the formulaic dismissal of teachers, and school choice were known, certainly there would have been an outcry from New York parents and teachers who have had more than their fill of test-based reforms.  The message of 200,000 Opt Outs has not been heard.”


** Reports regarding the Florida superintendents’ announcement: