Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Monday, October 14, 2013

Commissioner King's Firing Won't Solve The Problems With Common Core And The State's Education Reform Agenda

Techydad points out how getting John King fired from NYSED won't solve the problems that we're having in the NY State public education system:

Even now, people are calling for King’s resignation.  Sadly, I don’t think this will cause real change.  Instead Commissioner King will likely become a scapegoat.  He will be publicly fired and blamed for the fiasco.  Then, they will appoint a new commissioner to continue on the same over testing path hoping that parents and teachers will be placated by this token gesture.

Don’t fall for it.

The goal here is not Commissioner King getting the boot.  The goal here is to ensure a good educational future for our children.  The goal is to make sure that our kids don’t dread going to school because they’ve got test after test to take.  The goal is to stop punishing creative students because their answer doesn’t fit into the box that Pearson has drawn for them.  The goal is to allow teachers to assess how their particular students will learn best instead of forcing them to follow a "one size fits all" plan that actually fits nobody.  We cannot be distracted by a show firing because what is riding on this is our children’s future.

Demand educational accountability from the New York State Department of Education now!

I completely agree.

Let's dial the clock back to the Cathie Black days when there was a large and loud clamor to get Cathie Black fired from her chancellorship position at the NYCDOE.

Many people pointed out how unqualified she was, how little she knew (or seemed to care) about education, how we needed an educator to run the system.

They were right on all those counts.

But I said at the time, I didn't think getting Cathie Black fired would help make the public education system in NYC better.

The problem was Michael Bloomberg, the autocrat with dictatorial control of the school system, not Cathie Black (or Joel Klein, Dennis Walcott, Shael Polakow-Suransky or any of the other top functionaries at Tweed.)

Bloomberg has a privatization agenda and no matter who he hired to run Tweed and the NYC school system, that privatization agenda was going to be carried out.

In the end, a more competent deformer in the figure of Dennis Walcott took over the system after Black resigned and the pro-privatization agenda continued on unabated.

At the state level, the problem with the system goes well beyond SED and John King.

King was simply hired to carry out the privatization plans of the plutocrats in this state (like Merryl Tisch) and their functionaries in government (like Andrew Cuomo.)

When Andrew Cuomo was first running for governor, the NY Times ran a story about how he met in a hotel room with some hedge fund managers/education reformers, took a suitcase full of cash from them, and began promoting their education reform/privatization agenda the very next day.

We can get rid of John King all we want, but so long as Andrew Cuomo is still in power and still taking the cash from the hedge fund managers/education reformers to promote their policies, so long as plutocrat Merryl Tisch continues to run policy at the Board of Regents, the damaging corporate education reform policies students, parents and teachers are suffering under will continue unabated.

As Techydad notes, we cannot get distracted with the "Fire John King!" show.

Yes, I'd love to see him fired and forced to leave Albany in disgrace.

The arrogant King deserves no better.

And given how no prominent deformer has come to King's defense since the Poughkeepsie meltdown, I suspect the powers that be may be getting ready to toss Commissioner King to the sharks.

But alas, the corporate education reform policies will continue after King is gone if we do not take aim at Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch, DFER-supported Governor Andrew Cuomo, and the rest in the legislature who appoint the reform functionaries at the Board of Regents and pass reformy laws like the Race to the Top law and the APPR teacher evaluation law.

So sure, let's see Commissioner King fired for his disgraceful Poughkeepsie performance and his calling parents "special interests."

But let's put pressure on both Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch and Governor Cuomo to force them to end their authoritarian imposition of the corporate education reform agenda.

Common Core, Common Core tests, inBloom data tracking and the like isn't just John King's agenda.

It is Merryl Tisch's and Andrew Cuomo's agenda as well.


  1. Do you have another source. I checked the Times article and found nothing re Cuomo leaving with money.

    1. I use the "left with a suitcase full of cash" hyperbolic-ally. The article ends with these two paragraphs:

      Mr. Cuomo also has expressed support for charter schools. A spokesman for Mr. Cuomo declined to answer questions about the breakfast at the Regency, but Mr. Williams said it had gone well.

      “We said we were looking for a leader on our particular issue,” he said, and as a result, when Mr. Cuomo is next required to disclose his contributors, “You will see a bunch of our people on the filing.”

      In other words, a suitcase full of cash.

  2. I would argue that the problem will continue with or without Cuomo. Those men with their suitcases of cash will wait for the next governor. Bush left and NCLB was replaced with an even more venomous RTTT under Obama. There is hope,just not for us - Kafka

    1. You're right, of course. But if you get a mass rising, especially a mass rising of people out of the suburbs, that will give the plutocrats some pause. They need those people on their side to maintain the order they want in this society.