NEW YORK—In contrast to the angry crowds of parents who attended forums with the State Education Commissioner John King in other places, the speeches by many parents in New York City extolled his agenda.
Photos from the forum show a speaker reading a printed note with instructions.
The sheet, marked “Time sensitive,” read: “In the first minute, talk about how we have always taught our children, that if they work hard and apply themselves, there’s no limit to what they can accomplish.”
“The Common Core Standards make sure that every child—no matter their background or zip-code—has access to an education that prepares them for life after school,” the instructions followed.
“Common Core will ensure that every child, regardless of their zip-code, will have access to quality education,” said Natasha Muñoz, a mother of three from Bronx, in her speech.
“In the second minute,” the sheet instructed, “talk about how some people will ask to slow down change and slow down coming expectations [sic] with Common Core. But they don’t speak for you as a parent because your child’s education is time sensitive and we need to put reforms in place that improve our schools now.”
Several speakers used such “time sensitive” rhetoric, prompting cheers from a group holding look-alike banners which read “Our kids can hit your bar,” “Common Core,” or “Low Expectations” (crossed out with a red line in a circle).
“End by saying: Thank you for the opportunity to speak,” the sheet concluded.
Some of the Common Core supporters identified themselves as teachers with the Uncommon School charter chain. Others were members of StudentsFirstNY, a nonprofit connected to the Success Academy charter school network.
The Success Academy charter school chain is the biggest in New York City with 22 schools. Eva Moskowitz, CEO and founder of the Success Academy Network, is on the board of directors at StudentsFirstNY.
“I think it was rigged,” said Tracy Lynne, elementary school teacher and parent, after attending the forum in Brooklyn.
Lynne arrived an hour early, just so she could sign up for the opportunity to speak. But all 45 spots were already filled. Most of the speakers praised Common Core.
NYSED Commissioner John King, who famously said the parents at a Poughkeepsie forum were "special interests" brought to the meeting to disrupt the festivities, told Jessica Bakeman at Capital NY these Student Firsters and other pro-CCSS reformers using the printed up talking points were "not special interests":
ALBANY—For state education commissioner John King, some interest groups are more special than others.
King kicked off a furor in October when he canceled a series of public forums on the state's Common Core curriculum following an unruly public forum in Poughkeepsie that he said had been “co-opted by special interests."
King received a positive reception at a forum in Brooklyn Tuesday night—the first New York City meeting in King's revamped statewide listening tour—before a crowd of of pro-Common Core parents reportedly organized by an advocacy group that favors the new curriculum.
King said that was “categorically different."
“What would be the special interest there?” King said Wednesday, referring to the Brooklyn parents who praised the state's adoption of the rigorous standards as well as controversial teacher evaluations.
“What are they organizing around?”
Students First NY is officially listed as a lobbying organization with deep, deep pockets for political advocacy.
They brought a bunch of people in to talk up their agenda using scripted talking points with timelines (proven by the photos the Epoch Times has.)
But King says these folks, unlike the outraged parents in Poughkeepsie, are not "special interests."
You just can't make this stuff up.