Robert Rendo, educator and citizen, sent the following email to the New York Board of Regents:

Dear Honorable Regents,

As a private citizen and taxpayer, I urgently call upon you to reconsider Mary Ellen Elia’s position and to demand her resignation with a replacement that will truly advocate for children, families, taxpayers, and do what is right empirically and non-politicized for public education; that includes promulgating strict laws to prevent data mining and to protect student privacy, as well as increased funding to reduce class sizes and supplement far more greatly populations at risk.

As it stands to date, Commissioner Elia:

1. Has ignored parents: Even though more than 1 in 5 NYS parents have refused the state’s tests, the tests and the standards on which they are based remain largely unchanged.

2. Has deceived parents: Under her guidance, the state education department has misrepresented minor changes in the standards and tests as more significant than they really are.

3. Has formulated and implemented polices that are damaging to children and teachers: Rather than championing developmentally-appropriate practices based in research, Elia’s State Education Department has pushed policies like untimed testing (which may actually be illegal as well as abusive) and canned curriculum (which stifles creativity and engagement for students and teachers alike).

4. Has misplaced priorities: The state should be focused on insuring equity of resources, not on punishing schools.

5. Has not shown the will to forcefully protect all children–whether from racist school board members, data-mining corporations, or indefensible assignments (like the one where students were asked to make arguments in defense of the Holocaust).

I, along with dramatically and rapidly growing numbers other state residents and taxpayers, vehemently call for Ms. Elia’s immediate removal and replacement, and I hold you, along with our state legislators, accountable and will continue to watch hawkishly your governance as you continue in your noble and critical path for public education and our precious children and families of NY State.

Thank you for taking this under your careful review.

Robert Rendo
Ossining, NY

cc: NYS Allies for Public Education Steering Committee
Jamaal Bowman
Deborah Abramson-Brooks
Chris Cerrone
Jeanette Deutermann
Amy Gropp Forbes
Johanna Garcia
Kevin Glynn
Eileen Graham
Leonie Haimson
Michael Hynes, Ed.D
Jake Jacobs
Kemala Karmen
Marla Kilfoyle
Jessica McNair
Lisa Rudley
Janine Sopp
Bianca Tanis
Katie Zahedi, Ph.D

Diane Ravitch
Carol Burris
Susan Lee Schwartz
Leonie Haimson
Assembly Woman Sandra Galef
State Senator David Carlucci