The state Education Department is working on developing a new format for Commissioner John King’s town hall-style discussions of the Common Core standards — one it believes will be far less likely to descend into the sort of shoutfest that prevailed at Thursday’s session in Poughkeepsie.
“We are working to finalize venues where constructive dialogue is possible so that together with parents and educators we can discuss the Common Core and hear concerns regarding its implementation,” said SED spokesman Tom Dunn.
King’s subsequent decision to scrap the rest of the schedule and blame the melee on “special interests” has been a public relations nightmare for the department. King would have appeared Wednesday night at Shenendehowa High School in Clifton Park.
Sources with knowledge of King’s plans say the department is reaching out to PBS stations statewide in hopes of orchestrating new meetings that include local media figures as moderators — folks perhaps better suited than King himself to maintain civility on the hot-button issue.
King and his merry reformers at the NYSED are not interested in hearing from parents about their concerns.
They're interested in making this "public relations nightmare," as Capital Confidential calls it, go away.
So they'll look for a way to do some new meetings where they can issue the message they want, clamp down on any dissent and control the kind of video that emanates from the town halls.
In the end, this will not make the furor over Common Core go away.
As I have said again and again, King and the reformers at SED and the Regents do not care one whit what students, parents or teachers think or feel about their reform agenda.
And they have no intention of changing one iota of their reform agenda - not one.
That is the problem people have with them.
SED and the Regents can pay lip service to listening to people's concerns all they want.
They won't fool too many people with that act.
If the policies do not change, if they continue full speed ahead with the Core, the tests, the evaluation system and the inBloom data project, they are going to get pushback from parents and teachers no matter how much they try and control the message or have some NPR shill like Brian Lehrer do it for them.