Monday, October 14, 2013

Carol Smashes King

The idea that a Commissioner would accuse parents and teacher of being a "special interest" is outrageous. That is not what leaders do... Carol Burris, NY State Principal of the Year, at The Answer Sheet, WAPO
The speakers from the audience at this forum were to a person better-informed, more coherent and independent-minded than anyone I've heard from in NYSED, Dr. King included. For him to accuse these citizens, as he did in his announcement canceling further such forums, of having been manipulated by anyone is not just an outrage; it makes you wonder whether he is able to listen to anyone at all. What kind of judge of character is this man? What are his capacities to evaluate a coherent statement from someone he might not agree with? He's mad not because parents were manipulated by vague "outside forces," but because they refused to be manipulated by him. You have rightly identified his utter failure to lead; he must resign.... Jeff Nichols, comment at The Answer Sheet
King’s statement insinuates that the Poughkeepsie parents are so weak and mindless that the opinions and beliefs they stated with such clarity and passion – much of it aimed at King’s and his fellow reformer’s beloved Common Core — were merely lines fed to them by unnamed “special interests, ” meaning, one assumes following reformer logic, the usual suspects, teacher unions. A problem: as Diane Ravitch has pointed out, much to the bewilderment and increasing rage of their members, both the NEA and the AFT strongly support the Common Core standards. Another way of interpreting King’s words: King perceives parents themselves as a “special interest” group – at least those who do not genuflecting before the Common Core.  RagingHorseblog... John King’s Astounding Statement Should Find Him Fired

The always amazing Carol savages King (apologies to the famous crooner, Carol King) who has been ripped all over the blogging world -- I won't chronicle the avalanche which you can pick up from my blog roll (see latest links in the afterburn). Burris writes at her usual spot over at Valerie Strauss at WAPO (will deformer Jeff Bezos tolerate this in the future?)
The New York State Education Department has lost its moral authority...  That loss was clearly on display at a recent New York State PTA-sponsored hearing on the Common Core in Poughkeepsie, New York.  By the last half hour of the evening, the audience was both boisterous and impassioned, angered because there was limited opportunity to speak. What little time remained for the audience was twice interrupted by Commissioner John King, who had held the floor for an hour and a half. The miffed King then reacted by cancelling upcoming scheduled forums.
The video of the meeting is here.

King, engaging in the standard ed deform response to criticism:
Unfortunately, the forums sponsored by the New York State PTA have been co-opted by special interests whose stated goal is to “dominate” the questions and manipulate the forum.”
Carol responds:
The people in the audience at the Poughkeepsie forum were teachers and parents.  The common “special interests” of both groups are children.
She then goes on to review King's career and his ties to billionaire NYS Regent head Merryl Tisch.
In the authoritarian world of the Uncommon Charter Schools as described so well by scholar Pedro Noguera here, the rule is “thy will be done.”  In the real and messy world of democracy it is different.  Leaders must listen deeply, learn and respond.  They must be willing to consider alternative courses, and even in loud crowds, hear truth. In teaching, we attempt to perfect the skill known as “monitor and adjust.”  You can only master that skill by truly engaging learners.
Read it all:

Jeff Nichols, a NYC parent comments:
What is so astounding about this is that the official statement is even more arrogant than the already offensive spontaneous performance King put in at the forum (threatening to shut it down when he didn't like how it was going). Anyone can muff a public appearance, but King's gross mis-characterization of parents and teachers as "manipulated" by "special interests" was issued with all due deliberation, and constitutes an abject failure of leadership and of simple humanity.

Afterburn: Updated links on King


  1. John King should resign. So should Tisch. These people don't care about our kids. Only care about pushing Gates Foundation agenda.

  2. King's reason for shutting down the community meetings due to "special interests" is the same canard as "outside agitators" used by segregationists during the civil rights movement. It's kind of quaint in the era of the internet!


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