New York State Commissioner: “Life is One Big Test” Good, Lord, IT IS NOT

Daniel Katz, Ph.D.

When former Florida superintendent MaryEllen Elia was selected by the New York State Board of Regents to succeed John King, Jr. as Commissioner of the New York State Education Department, I predicted that parents could expect a “pro-testing charm offensive” as one of her first orders of business.  There was certainly no chance that Ms. Elia was selected in order to diminish the role of standardized testing in the state.  One of her key accomplishments in the Hillsborough school district in Florida was securing a $100 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to create a teacher evaluation system that, while including mentoring and other support mechanisms, made use of “fair and accurate measures of effective teaching” which is Gates Foundation shorthand for standardized testing.  And in fact, the system she developed did use standardized test scores for 40% of teacher evaluations.  She begins her…

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