A close-up look at NYC education policy, politics,and the people who have been, are now, or will be affected by these actions and programs. ATR CONNECT assists individuals who suddenly find themselves in the ATR ("Absent Teacher Reserve") pool and are the "new" rubber roomers, people who have been re-assigned from their life and career. A "Rubber Room" is not a place, but a process.
Forget the city’s standardized tests — skip school!
That’s the shocking advice publicly offered by Lisa Nielsen, 44, a high-ranking city Department of Education official recently promoted to the newly created, six-figure position of “director of digital literacy and citizenship.”
In her spare time, Nielsen is an administrator of the Facebook group Opt Out of State Standardized Tests — New York, which promotes boycotting the very same standardized tests her agency administers.
“More and more parents are speaking out and standing up for their parental rights by opting their children out of standardized tests,” she wrote last week on her blog, “The Innovative Educator: Way Out of the Box!”
On Friday, she recommended that teachers assign students who opt out to other activities, including reading, writing and drawing — or taking a snooze.
“The test might just be a perfect time to catch some zzz’s,” she wrote.
On Thursday, she blogged that kids would learn more by cutting class on exam day instead of being “sentenced to sit and start [sic] into space.”
Instead, Nielsen — co-author of “Teaching Generation Text: Using Cellphones to Enhance Learning” — recommends that parents or volunteers plan group activities and “put together a fun pass book for testing days with discounts to local zoos, museums, theater, etc.”
She adds, “They’ll all be empty since most young people will be locked up taking tests.”
Blasting the powers-that-be and their “ineffective measures,” the Las Vegas-born Nielsen referenced Occupy Wall Street in another post.
“These protesters aren’t occupying the real culprit behind the unfair economic system that benefits the rich and corporations at the expense of the rest of us . . . our public schools,” she blogged. “Occupy Wall Streeters: It’s time to change direction . . . Occupy those schools.”
On Facebook, she urges people to sign a petition to Gov. Cuomo to “End High Stakes Testing,” started by Carol Burris, a “fearless principal” in Rockville Centre, LI.
Nielsen also agrees with critics who denounce the Common Core — national standards New York has adopted that spell out what kids should know and when — as a scheme to enrich testing companies.
The newly minted DOE executive also advocates for home schooling, saying people she knows who were taught at home “seemed to be really smart, passionate, successful and satisfied with their lives. All that and they never had to be tortured in an algebra, history, science or English class!”
Nielsen said she has been developing teacher-training materials since starting her DOE job in September.
“We show teachers how to use social media, like Facebook, Twitter, blogs and Wikis,” she told The Hechinger Report, an education news Web site.
“We give teachers a ‘digital makeover’ so that they can control how they want to be seen online. And finally, they get practice creating their own social-media page or group,” she said.
She said the DOE created her post after issuing guidelines for teachers on the proper use of social media and how to avoid getting into trouble.
According to a DOE job description, the position came with a salary of up to $170,000.
She last worked as director of technology innovation, earning $117,929 a year, 2010 records show.
She has worked on and off for the DOE since 1997 in a variety of jobs, including teacher, librarian, reading coach and teacher trainer.
The DOE would not say whether it had been aware of her rebellious views when they named her to the new post.
“The department is always open to working with people with different ideas,” said spokeswoman Erin Hughes.