We knew the choice of ousted Hillsborough, Florida school Superintendent Mary Ann Elia for New York State Education Commissioner was not going to sit well with many educators and parents. Less than a month into her new job, she has proven the critics were right. She looks like just a different version of former Commissioner John King.
As reported on the B-LoEdScene blog via the Buffalo News, Elia told the media she is going on a listening tour. While in Buffalo, she was pushing the same old blame the teacher garbage as her predecessor.
Here is what she told the school board: "It's important for you to understand there will be consequences if you can't move those schools forward," she said.
Improve or else. This is Elia's grand new strategy. The whole false premise that schools fail because of lousy educators is moving ahead full steam at the state level.
The list of schools going into what is now euphemistically called "receivership" was released by Elia's State Ed Department last week. Schools are now termed "struggling" or persistently struggling." Who invents these terms? One of their solutions for struggling schools is to replace the teachers as if bad teaching had much to do with lack of student achievement.
The best quote in response to Elia comes from Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore:
That someone's going to come in here and wave a magic wand, and all of these kids who have severe problems will start doing well, that's just not going to happen."
Rumore is no hero to me as he was one of the supporters of the NYSUT coup d'etat last year that gave us Revive NYSUT who have revived nothing but enhanced their own pensions. In this case, however, Rumore has nailed it. His comment goes right along with something our friend Harris Lirtzman said the other day at Perdido Street school:
...where are all the magical teachers going to come from to staff these schools when their current roster get dumped in the ATR in New York City and straight fired everywhere else? Will the State give the "receivers" special wands and hocus-pocus powers to make magical teachers appear from thin air? What "master" teacher anywhere would transfer to any of these schools when the State accountability system will turn a "master" teacher into a "developing" teacher in one year?
For those who have not been following, this is what the state said in their press release concerning struggling schools.