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March 12, 2018
New York state education chief on gun violence protests: ‘We ought to be supportive of students’
New York City officials have endorsed the walkout, but Elia, who oversees schools across the entire ideologically diverse state, has walked a finer line.
October 8, 2017
SUNY revises controversial proposal to let some New York charter schools certify their own teachers
Prospective teachers will be required to sit for significantly more hours of instruction before they enter classrooms than in the original proposal.
March 16, 2017
New York education experts call Trump’s proposed budget cuts ‘irresponsible’ and ‘devastating’
President Donald Trump’s budget blueprint, unveiled Thursday, drew instant ire from education experts in New York state.
August 5, 2016
Could scoring changes explain the rise in New York’s English test results? Experts say they’re not convinced
Some are calling into question the raw score it took to pass the year's state exams, but researchers say the changes are likely par for the course.
getting to graduation
June 13, 2016
It’s official: New York is making it easier for students with disabilities to graduate this year
The dramatic move could increase demand for the state’s less-rigorous “local” diploma and reignite a debate about academic requirements for those students.
slow and steady
April 18, 2016
New York will have a new teacher evaluation system in 2019, officials say
The changes to teacher evaluations are set to begin last — a careful sequencing that reflect officials’ desire to avoid moving too quickly.
March 30, 2016
What does the opt-out movement want this year?
As students gear up to take the exams this year, there is a lingering question: What does the opt-out movement want to gain from boycotting tests again?
March 25, 2016
As opt-out debates continue, state’s top education officials work to stay united
One day after the chancellor-elect said she would opt her own child out of state tests, she had a conversation with the education commissioner and outlined their shared views.
February 23, 2016
Opt-out movement unlikely to provoke sanctions from state, this time around
Though a federal mandate requires students to take state tests, the Board of Regents is unlikely to impose sanctions for low participation this year.
eyes on the clock
February 8, 2016
Why New York’s switch to untimed tests might not matter (and why teachers aren’t so sure)
A handful of states have administered untimed tests for over a decade. What can New York learn?
February 5, 2016
As Albany’s power dynamics shift, Elia gets an education in politics
Since her appointment last May, Elia has promised to work closely with the state’s many opposing educational groups, but that is becoming a challenge.
February 1, 2016
Opt-out leaders to New York: Your testing changes don’t appease us
The parents who organized a record-breaking boycott of state tests last year say the commissioner’s latest effort to alter state tests is not nearly enough.
January 29, 2016
In a first, New York’s state ed commissioner will attend charter rally
In a first, State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia will attend a rally held by charter-school advocates next week, officials confirmed Friday.
take your time
Updated January 27, 2016
Students will not face time limits on this year’s state tests, Elia says
Students who are "working productively" will be given as much time as they need to complete this year's exams, State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said Wednesday.
January 5, 2016
Why does everything we do right for students with disabilities disappear on testing day?
Two special education teachers explain why the state must continue lobbying to change how state tests work for students with disabilities.
November 16, 2015
As charter approvals dwindle, state ed officials begin to ask why
Two city charter schools got preliminary approval from the Board of Regents — but the overall number of new charter schools might reach its lowest number in years.
November 16, 2015
Early results of New York’s Common Core survey are mostly positive
About 1.5 percent of New York teachers have responded to the survey so far.
November 4, 2015
On second tour, Elia scrutinizes teaching and learning inside a Renewal classroom
After a tour at P.S. 298 in Brownsville, Elia and other state education officials applauded the school’s efforts, but said more improvement was needed.
October 21, 2015
New York’s Common Core review begins with a survey and a new name
The 2,000-question form allows respondents to weigh in on every one of the Common Core’s math and English standards, spanning pre-kindergarten to twelfth grade.
October 20, 2015
Elia and Fariña compare visions for school improvement in the Bronx
Chancellor Carmen Fariña and New York State Commissioner MaryEllen Elia promised to collaborate, but the pressure is still on at the School of Diplomacy.
October 19, 2015
To anti-testing crowd, Tisch and Elia defend state assessments with caveats
The state’s top education officials struck a measured tone when discussing the Common Core standards earlier this month.
ask and you shall receive
October 15, 2015
Elia says school turnaround law needs changes to provide more time and money
The hearing was an opportunity for state and local education officials had to sound off on the turnaround initiative and the impact it’s having on schools.
September 16, 2015
Elia names new slate of state education leaders, including former city ELLs chief
The appointments end an extended period of transition at the department that began when former Commissioner John King departed at the end of 2014.
eyes on opt-out
August 20, 2015
Elia says supporting opt-outs ‘unethical,’ vows to keep pushing feds for waiver
“I think opt-out is something that is not reasonable,” State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said Thursday.
a second look
August 6, 2015
Ahead of state’s Common Core review, Commissioner Elia looks outside New York
For Commissioner Elia, the review offers a test for how she will respond to concerns — and a chance to say the state is taking action.
a big switch
Updated July 9, 2015
New York ditches controversial test-maker Pearson
The state has signed a five-year contract with Minneapolis-based Questar Assessment Inc., after several controversies involving giant test-maker Pearson.
Turnover at the top
July 8, 2015
Amid transition at New York ed department, Ken Wagner to decamp for Rhode Island
Ken Wagner, a top state education official who took on a bigger role after John King’s resignation, has been tapped to be Rhode Island’s next education commissioner.
July 7, 2015
Ken Wagner, top state ed deputy, a finalist for Rhode Island ed chief job
Wagner would be the latest in a string of state education officials to leave over the last year, which has been marked by tumult over education policy.
June 2, 2015
Incoming commissioner Elia talks evals, promises to listen to opt-out concerns
MaryEllen Elia said Tuesday that she favors giving school districts more time to make changes to their teacher evaluation systems, but skirted questions about other hot-button issues.
looking for a leader
May 27, 2015
Elia promises to communicate as state ed policy faces new tests
MaryEllen Elia indicated she will bring a shift in tone and style while not backing away from the controversial policies implemented by her predecessors.
May 26, 2015
Education groups with opposing views welcome incoming Commissioner Elia
The national, state, and city teachers union chiefs praised MaryEllen Elia's appointment, as did some advocacy groups that often clash with the unions.
July 15, 2013
Lhota draws from education donors as Thompson lags in polls
Two big-city schools chiefs are among the most recent donors to Joe Lhota's mayoral campaign, according to finance records released today. Campaigns must file their donor records today, and Lhota's was among the first uploaded to the New York City Campaign Finance Board's website this afternoon. The records show that former city schools chancellor Cathie Black gave the Lhota campaign $175, the maximum that the city's public financing program will match, last week. But Black, who spent three tumultuous months as chancellor in 2011 before resigning, was not the only schools chief to donate to Lhota, the city's leading Republican candidate for mayor. MaryEllen Elia, the superintendent of Florida's Hillsborough County Public Schools system, gave him $125 earlier this month, as did her husband, according to finance records. Elia did not respond to requests for comment today. Hillsborough County, which includes Tampa, is the eighth-largest school system in the country and a recipient of significant Gates Foundation funding to study teacher quality and try out changes to hiring and firing rules.
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