Tuesday, May 26, 2015


More Information Contact:
Marla Kilfoyle, General Manager, BATs
Melissa Tomlinson, Asst General Manager, BATs
Badass Teachers Association - http://www.badassteacher.org/

NY BATs –  New York Education Commissioner  – No Good for NYS Kids!

The New York Badass Teachers Association, is a diverse pro-public education organization of 3,287 members.  It is the state affiliate of the Badass Teachers Association, currently 55,328 strong nationwide.

NY BATs strongly denounce the appointment of MaryEllen Elia as the new Commissioner of Education in New York.  Assemblyman James Tedisco stated, “Today, the Regents jumped the shark and appointed an anti-education Common Core defender as New York State Education Commissioner. The new Commissioner, MaryEllen Elia, was terminated in January from her position as Superintendent  of Schools in Hillsborough County Florida.”

Retired New York teacher and special education advocate, Terry Kalb, “Elia's board in Florida was willing to pay a million dollars for her to leave- that should have given the Regents reason to look elsewhere when there are so many excellent candidates who are NY public education superintendents. The parents of NY were promised an open process. Instead, there was an "emergency" meeting behind closed doors, and no public vetting. New York students deserve better than a Superintendent who was run out of town.”

NY parent and teacher Marla Kilfoyle asks, “Where is the process and transparency that parents and teachers were promised?”

MaryEllen Elia comes to NY by way of Hillsborough County,  Florida where she was an ardent supporter of evaluating teachers on test scores, merit pay, and Common Core.  NY BAT Michael Hirsh said,  "The newly appointed commissioners stand and key educational issues is crystal clear, well documented, and go against everything the people of New York have loudly indicated they wish to see. She is an avid supporter of high stakes testing, who has little compassion for high needs students. She uses heavy handed tactics to push through her disconnected agenda and is certainly not the right candidate for the job."

We are not optimistic.  Reports from our Florida BATs and parents are not positive.  They report she has a record of ignoring parents of special needs students and high suspension/discipline rates for children of color happened under her watch. “Without a doubt, this district (Hillsborough) has built one of the worst school-to-prison pipelines in the state of Florida,” said community activist Marilyn Williams, who last year filed a federal complaint against the school district, which is now being investigated, over possible racial disparities in school discipline.   

The children of New York deserve better and the Board of Regents has once again let them down! 



  • New York's Board of Regents, tasked with fixing the current problems of teacher evaluations, Common Core Curriculum, and useless Testing measures, voted today to hire someone (who was fired from their last job) as the new Commissioner of Education. This person does not respect the demands of parents or teachers and favors private charter schools over public education. 

    Way to go Regents! You finally had the chance to fix the problems in New York and you blew it! I don't want to hear one word of criticism towards teachers. Anyone who is either incapable or unwilling to make decisions for the good of the people, should never have the right to criticize those who struggle to meet your ridiculous mandate.   Ann MacAbee

  • The Board of Regents bypassed public notice, public comment and public debate in fast-tracking the appointment of a commissioner shrouded in controversy and baggage. This signals yet another use of naked power to push through corporate reforms without the knowledge or consent of the governed. The Chancellor thumbed her nose at a rising tide of actively engaged parents and educators seeking to unyoke our children from high stakes tests and counterproductive regulations. And just when the state needed an inclusive, deliberative process to restore credible leadership to a floundering, divided education system, we instead see a major escalation of the conflict, setting the stage for larger, longer and louder protests.  Jake Jacob

  • The appointment of MaryEllen Elia is another slap in the face to everyone concerned with public education in NYS. The Regents had a chance to support students, parents, and teachers in public education. Instead they chose a corporate reformer who clearly is in love with high stakes testing, VAM and CC$$. I'm greatly disappointed in the Regents. These people are supposed to want what's best for the students. None of what Elia pushes is good for kids.  Lesa Aloan Wilbert

  •  Are the NY Regents dumpster diving? This is not what was meant by reduce, reuse, recycle.This search and appointment was a failure.#NYRegentsFail . This candidate, if she can't handle Florida is unacceptable for NYS.  Aixa Rodriguez

  • Just another day in the campaign against teachers built by the "Cuomo Foundation". But we will continue to fight the good fight... for our children. 360 degrees of incompetence!  Daliz Vasquez

  •  New York couldn't do any better than someone who was last fired from her job? Are there so few competent people out there? Or is the goal to find someone hostile to the needs of teachers and students?  Ian Berger

  • Given Elia's ardent support of loathed corporate reforms that have no basis in research and no effective results anywhere, it boggles the mind how the board of regents can unanimously approve this appointment. Newly elected members of the regents previously provided a glimmer of hope that parents, teachers and students would have a voice. Once again the public has been duped. Words are meaningless if they do not coincide with logical action. This move sends us a clear signal that business as usual is alive and well.   William Cala

  • The Board of Regents missed a perfect opportunity to put NYS back on the map in positive light. There have been 200 thousand test refusals, record numbers of well attended education forums, and the passing of a record high number of school budget votes. It is clear where the public wants the focus to be in our public schools. Using inappropriate tests as a means to punish schools and teachers is not what the public wants.  Barbara Lynn

  •  If her past record is an indication of how she'll perform in this new position, NYS will see its test refusal numbers go through the roof. NYS parens are not to be underestimated.  Carrie Gilroy

  • As a parent of a child with special needs I am disappointed, yet again, in the board's choice. This is another failure on behalf of our most vulnerable populations. All in the name of corporate agenda! Our children deserve more and the parents of New York are willing to fight. In the past I was thankful to live in this state because of our leadership in special education policy. Now we have become another place where anything that doesn't fit the big corporate picture is swept under the rug and rolled up to be discarded with the trash. This is truly a violation of basic human rights.  Alison Steixner

  •  Once again the regents had no transparency in the process. Her record, not her interview, speaks for itself-- supporting merit pay, high stakes tests, micromanaging her staff and a general disregard for special Ed students. What a disappointment.  Diane Venezia Livingston

  •  Who else did they interview and what are the reasons they say are behind their choice? She is clearly more of the same, or worse..... how do they explain themselves do families and educators across the state who made it clear that more of the same is not acceptable?  Doug Selwyn

  • The New York State government and Board of Regents has sunk to new lows in its appointing of an education official who was fired from her last job. Why should we trust her with the education of our children?  Kirsten Wehmann Berger

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