Department of Education

New state education commissioner visits former school district

Jul 10, 2015
Eileen Buckley / WBFO News

New York Commissioner of Education MaryEllen Elia has only been on the job for four days and she’s already visiting her old stomping grounds.

Elia visited the Sweet Home School District in Amherst in western New York Thursday morning. Elia taught social studies there for 16 years  in the 1970s and 198os.

Elia spoke with the school board, teachers, administrators, parents and reporters about public education.


A major part of Common Core learning standards is a standardized testing system. A system that many have taken issue with.

“I’m all for setting the bar high, but you are setting the bar so high that you are going to defeat a group of people and they’re going to drop out of school,” said parent Lisa Arnone. “As a middle school teacher I already hear them talking. They say ‘they’ll never pass those tests and they’re done.’ And that will be a shame that they will be defeated by these tests.”

Ellen Abbott/WRVO file photo

In classrooms across New York, students are being taught under the Common Core learning standards, requirements that specify what students should know in English Language Arts and math based on grade level.

Students are expected to read and more thoroughly analyze nonfiction text as part of the English requirement. In math, students must have a deeper understanding of concepts and memorize certain formulas.

Rob Kleine / Flickr

New York state's overall high school graduation rate continues to rise slowly over time. But one-quarter of students statewide don’t graduate high school after four years. These statistics are according to the New York State Education Department’s release of high school graduation rates for 2011.