Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Report on John King/Merryl Tisch Dog and Pony Show in Binghamton

Bearing signs reading “We are human, not machines,” “Oust the King” and “End Fed Ed,” Binghamton area residents let state Education Commissioner John King see — and hear — their discontent with Common Core state standards. “Tell the assembly we’re coming for them. We’re coming for them, we’re angry and we vote,” said Christina Bangel, a seventh-grade social studies teacher at Owego-Apalachin Middle School and mother of two third-grade students at Owego Elementary School....King gets earful on Common Core
Below are two reports. One personal and the other press.
When I saw Doug Green's headline (Dr. King's Binghamton Tour) I misread it as Birmingham and assumed this was a retrospective of Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement. But hey, John King, you are no Martin Luther King. In fact you are the very opposite -- MLK would be standing with the real reformers instead of the ed deformers.

There's a great slide show with pics like this:



http://www.pressconnects.com/article/20131125/NEWS02/311250077/King-gets-earful-Common-Core?nclick_check=1

(See the entire article below the break.)

Here is an edited version of Doug's report.
Last night (11/25) was Dr. King's Binghamton tour. He was accompanied by Ms. Tisch, and regent Talon. They visited three school districts and viewed what sounded like "dog and pony" shows. At 2:00 pm they did a closed Q & A at the local PBS studio. There was a lottery that determined who got in and questions had to be submitted before hand. The event lasted exactly one hour and was pretty tame. There wasn't any hint of passion from the crowd and the answers all sounded pretty canned.

At 6:00 there was a public event at a Binghamton Middle School. The first 45 people who asked to speak were sorted into three groups of 15. After a brief introduction, the first 15 spoke one after another while the folks on stage, which
included local state legislators sat and listened. 
It started out with a bang as the first speaker let them know how bad the common core and the testing is for kids and teachers. The beat went on as the speakers varied in tone from highly critical to hostile. As each one spoke, most of the packed crowd stood as a show of solidarity. Each speaker received applause in spit of the moderator asking them several times not to applaud. 

After the first 15 speakers Dr. King made a few statements in response to some of the comments. Then the next 15 spoke with the same passion about how screwed up they thought the system was. Many talked about their kids crying and hating school. Many non ELA/Math subjects were represented by teachers. 

As King spoke after this bunch, the crowd got rowdy and Ms. Tisch spoke up to chide them for their behavior. That seemed to work. The final 15 was more of the same with the final speaker drawing a standing ovation as he called out the legislators to do something. He was a former elementary principal and friend. I was going to speak, but I gave him my spot as what was needed was his passion as opposed to my nerdy analysis.
Regent Tallon commented at the end with the basic pitch that we can't go backwards. King blamed the feds for the testing and told the audience that pre tests that seem to be part of the problem are a district decision. He also said he has seen great common core lessons by teachers who adapted them.

King gets earful on Common Core




BINGHAMTON — Bearing signs reading “We are human, not machines,” “Oust the King” and “End Fed Ed,” Binghamton area residents let state Education Commissioner John King see — and hear — their discontent with Common Core state standards.
“Tell the assembly we’re coming for them. We’re coming for them, we’re angry and we vote,” said Christina Bangel, a seventh-grade social studies teacher at Owego-Apalachin Middle School and mother of two third-grade students at Owego Elementary School.


Bangel, like many other parents, teachers and community members, criticized King and other state officials for the Common Core standards, rushed implementation, student testing and a host of other topics during a forum Monday night at West Middle School in Binghamton. Almost 50 residents spoke during the two-and-a-half hour session, while more than 700 filled in the seats to applaud, cheer and stand in solidarity.



King was joined on the stage by members of the state Board of Regents and other officials, including Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch of New York City and member James R. Tallon Jr. of Binghamton and New York City.

King and other officials remained relatively quiet during the forum, allowing residents to voice their concerns and questions. When King did speak to address concerns, he was often met with jeers, shouts and heckling from the audience, asking him for proof or calling him a liar.
Before Monday’s public session, King met with the editorial board of CNY Newspapers. He addressed a number of issues from community members concerning the Common Core but reiterated his intentions to move forward with the standards.
“It would be a mistake to retreat from higher standards and from the idea of college and career readiness for all students,” he said.
Common Core is a set of national, rigorous standards that change the content and manner of instruction for students in kindergarten to 12th grade. The standards are designed to ensure students are on track for college or a career when they graduate high school. New York’s implementation of the standards, which began during the 2012-13 school year, has been heavily criticized.

Monday night was no different. Karrie Fetterman, a Chenango Forks resident and art teacher at West Middle School, joined fellow teachers in a silent act of unrest. The teachers, wearing matching West Middle T-shirts, lined the edges of the auditorium, each wearing blue surgical gloves and many holding photos of children. Fetterman held a framed photo of her 9-year-old daughter, Mandy, and her 8-year-old son, Corbin.
Both are students at Chenango Forks Elementary. Both are struggling with Common Core.
“Twenty-two pages of math is too much,” Mandy Fetterman told King and the other gathered officials to a round of applause from audience members.
Everyone who spoke criticized the state’s implementation of standards, but not everyone opposed to the idea of the standards
“The standards are fine,” said Linda Oryhon, an Endicott resident and special education consultant teacher at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School in Binghamton.
Oryhon, who also serves as the head of the Binghamton Teachers Association, called on King to impose a three-year moratorium on Common Core testing to give teachers, students and communities a chance to catch up.
“That’s the balanced, educated way of approaching an issue,” she said.
Monday’s visit was part of King’s second set of community forums, which came after he canceled a first wave sponsored by the New York State Parent Teacher Association, when he faced a barrage of criticism from members of the Poughkeepsie community.
“He seems to listen more, but he’s still primarily defensive,” said Kathy Haskill, a Town of Chenango resident and social studies teacher at Chenango Valley High School, who attended the event, but did not speak.
Joe Herringshaw, a Vestal resident and sixth-grade social studies teacher at Vestal Middle School, was also upset by King’s reaction. After 15 residents spoke, King and other officials would take a short break to answer questions or clarify misinformation.
“He hasn’t answered a single question,” Herringshaw said.
As the event neared the two and a half hour mark, Tallon, the Board of Regents member who represents Binghamton, thanked audience members for their time and said officials were going to try to do better.
“We don’t have the choice to do nothing,” he said.

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