New York State Allies for Public Education, a coalition of parents’ groups from across the state that formed during the summer, called today for the resignation of state Education Commission John King.
You might say “So what?” Who ever heard of this organization?
The thing is, this action by NYSAPE may capture some of the anger out there over the state’s education reforms, which King and Chancellor Meryl Tisch has trumpeted without reservation.
I wrote a Class Notes column recently about the growing opposition to the state’s reforms—particularly to all the testing connected to the new Common Core standards and the new teacher evaluation system.
I was hearing the criticism everywhere, from school officials, from parents, from state senators at a hearing on Long Island I attended. I have found myself wondering: When will the state Education Department acknowledge these concerns and do or say something to alleviate them?
Well, King has shown no willingness to do so.
According to several reports like this and this, King took a lot of heat at a public forum on the Common Core last week in Poughkeepsie. The hearing was one of several scheduled around the state by the NYS PTA.
King then canceled four remaining hearings—saying that they have been co-opted by special interests.
According to the state PTA’s Facebook page:
“While our goal was to provide an opportunity to learn and share, based on review of the initial October 10 meeting, the Commissioner concluded the outcome was not constructive for those taking the time to attend. Please know that NYS PTA will continue to work with all education and child advocacy partners to keep our members updated and informed on education, health, safety and welfare issues affecting children and families.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and express our sincere appreciation to those who have given their time to assist with organizing this initiative.”
The cancellation of the hearings appears to have pushed NYSAPE over the edge. An extended statement from the group includes this: “When a public official such as Commissioner King refuses to participate in the democratic process and refuses to hear the concerns of parents while simultaneously carrying out educational policies that affect thousands of children, he is no longer fit to carry out the duties of the NYS Commissioner of Education.”
The statement goes on with this: “New York State Allies for Public Education calls for the immediate resignation of Commissioner of Education John King as he is unfit to carry out the duties of his position competently and he is no longer able to conduct himself in a manner that is consistent with the principles and ideals of the American democracy.”
Even Diane Ravitch, one of the heroes of the growing anti-testing, anti-”reform” movement, has caught wind of the NYSAPE move.
King was at JFK Magnet School in Port Chester on Thursday (see photo). But teachers there, despite raising several concerns, were gracious toward their visitor. When King left that morning (with me asking him questions by his car), little did he know he was heading into a difficult few days that may continue for some time.