State Education Commissioner John King on Saturday canceled appearances at four upcoming PTA-sponsored community meetings, following a barrage of criticism from raucous parents and teachers Thursday in Poughkeepsie.
The state tour was intended to promote the newly implemented Common Core standards, and had included a stop at Williamsville North High School on Oct. 24.
King, in a statement, blamed “special interests” for disrupting the first scheduled meeting, which he said led him to cancel the other town hall-style meetings.
“I was looking forward to engaging in a dialogue with parents across the state. I was eagerly anticipating answering questions from parents about the Common Core and other reforms we’re moving ahead with in New York State. 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,” King wrote.
“The disruptions caused by the special interests have deprived parents of the opportunity to listen, ask questions and offer comments. Essentially, dialogue has been denied. In light of the clear intention of these special interest groups to continue to manipulate the forum, the PTA-sponsored events scheduled have been suspended.”
By "special interests," King undoubtedly means teachers unions or teachers themselves, but this is not the tact I would take if I were Commissioner King or SED officials trying to push back against the opposition to their agenda.
This just going to infuriate parents and get this kind of response:
#JohnKingNYSED Pearson/other profiteers are "special interest" groups; parents & teachers who know what's best for their children are not.
— Ani McHugh (@Teacherbiz31) October 13, 2013
John King continues to sow the seeds of his own destruction as he deals with public opposition to his corporate education reform agenda.
First, he melts down publicly in Poughkeepsie when a parent points out his hypocrisy sending his own kids to Montessiori school for a good education while he forces rote memorization, standardization and Endless Testing on every public school child in the state.
Then he cancels the future town hall meetings with parents after the Poughkeepsie meltdown, reinforcing the meme that SED officials are uninterested in hearing from parents and critics of their agenda.
Now he blames these cancellations on "special interests," a claim that is going to make parents who want to tell him about their opposition to his agenda very, very mad.
On top of that, it looks like someone at SED called the police on a teacher who made a comment about King's tenure as commissioner.
Every time you think John King can't handle this mess any worse than he already has, he manages to throw a little more gasoline onto the Common Core/inBloom/Endless Testing Opposition bonfire.
I can't imagine his latest gambit - to blame "special interests" for parent opposition to the SED agenda - is going to work very well at cutting off criticism and opposition.
I suspect it will simply make things a lot worse.
Clearly John King needs a crisis manager to handle the inferno he is now embroiled in.
He keeps throwing more gas onto it.