Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Yonkers Daily Voice: King Forum Attendees Overwhelmingly Negative Toward King, Common Core And Testing

The LoHud article on the John King Common Core forum managed to find one guy who was pro-Common Core and put him prominently in their piece on the King Common Core meeting yesterday, both in the writing and a video accompanying the article.

Of course that makes the forum look like it was more evenly distributed in terms of attendees against the Common Core and those who are for the Common Core.

But the Yonkers Daily Voice reported that nobody spoke out in favor of the Common Core, the testing, or Commissioner King.

Here is that article in full:

PORT CHESTER, N.Y. -- Hundreds of Westchester County parents and educators expressed concern and outrage to New York Education Commissioner John King over the implementation of the Common Core at a public forum held before a packed house at Port Chester Middle School on Monday night.

Many felt that the Common Core standards have been implemented too quickly and that not enough due diligence has been performed on their effectiveness. Others said that there was an over-reliance on testing, and that the standards reduce teacher and administrative control over what children are taught in the classroom.

Administrators and school board members complained that the Common Core and teacher assessments are placing a heavy burden on district budgets.

"At Yonkers, we've had cuts for guidance counselors, our psychologist, our social workers, our peer support, art, music, library, everything has been decimated," said Kevin Clifford, a Dobbs Ferry parent and teacher in Yonkers Public Schools. "Yet you want our students to meet the same standards as everyone else. I tell you, that is not fair. That is not right. That is not just."

Lou Wool, the superintendent of Harrison Schools, said that superintendents tried to warn King and the Board of Regents about the issues raised by the Common Core. He said that the curriculum has hurt the people in poverty it was partly designed to help.

"I spent 18 years in a district that is predominantly a district ravaged by poverty and I can tell you this reform agenda has not only not helped, it has damaged them," he said. "And all of this could have been accomplished quite differently.

"There's not a single superintendent in this room that's not opposed to teacher accountability. There's not a superintendent that's opposed to reasonable use of test data. What we were opposed to was the medical malpractice that's been perpetrated on the teachers and the children of this state." 

Some said that King should resign, while others called for a repeal or a vote on the Common Core. There were some who accused King and members of the Board of Regents of having personal financial incentive for implementing the curriculum.

Those who crowded into the auditorium enthusiastically applauded those who spoke against the Common Core. Nobody spoke in favor of the initiative.

The only student who spoke was John Del Vecchio, a 10-year-old from Yorktown who was joined by his mother, Linda. He talked about how much work the Common Core standards have created for him.

"There is so much pressure to pass all these tests, me and my classmates have to stay in during recess to cover material for the test," he said. "I've always done well in school, but this work has become so confusing I often want to give up."

King said that he has seen the Common Core in action and that he has seen its success in school's he's visited. He said that work will continue to be done on the curriculum and implementation to make it more successful.

"We will make adjustments, but I don't want to leave any confusion about our commitment to our work on the Common Core moving forward, ensuring that we work with government and legislators to make sure the resources are there for all districts to reach those higher expectations, and to work on teacher and principal evaluations." 

In the end, King heard nothing and will change nothing.

He says as much at the end of the forum - "We will make adjustments, but I don't want to leave any confusion about our commitment to our work on the Common Core moving forward."

But with the overwhelming majority of people showing up to these forums coming in anti-SED reform agenda, this implementation may eventually end up being taken from him.

As Fred LeBrun noted on Sunday in the Times-Union, Andrew Cuomo is finely tuned to the way the winds blow in public opinion.

I am willing to bet that Cuomo, adamant about the effectiveness of Common Core and testing and teacher evaluations tied to test scores during the past three years, will grow less adamant about that stuff as these forums go on and it becomes clear a majority of parents across the state do not support them.

The LoHud people can try and frame this as a 50%-50% thing, but it's clear when you watch the live streams, when you hear from the people who attended these forums, that it is more like 99% opposed-1% for.

Andrew Cuomo is a stubborn man and he surely wants the ed deformer/hedge fundie money that he's getting paid to implement this agenda.

But he also wants to win re-election with a sizeable margin so that he can run for president in 2016 and he does not want an education reform rebellion going on in his state while he is running for re-election or getting ready to run for president in 2016.

In the end, if SED and the Regents pay lip service to change ("We're getting rid of some tests!") but just make little changes around the edges of the agenda, getting rid of one test here or there but keeping the teacher evaluation system tied to test scores that mandates state and local assessments in every grade in every subject in place, the King Regime, and perhaps even the Tisch Regime, will not be tenable.

The anger and hostility to the agenda and the people imposing it is clear from these forums and Cuomo is not going to risk his 2016 dreams of living in a big white house to support that.

Let's keep the pressure on them  - it's making a big, big difference.

Putting pressure on King, putting pressure on SED, putting pressure on the Regents, putting pressure on legislators - this puts pressure on Andrew Cuomo to end this mess or own this mess.


  1. We will be putting pressure on one of our state legislators this week... State Sen Flanagan...

    1. Thanks for the heads up. I'll post that tomorrow, Brian!