On Tuesday, New York state Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. will sit in front of an audience at Fayetteville-Manlius High School for his ninth public forum on the Common Core standards. King also has appeared in four Q&A sessions televised by public broadcasters around the state.
If past is prologue, at Tuesday's forum King will absorb a barrage of criticism about the state's rush to implement the standards, the botched rollout of the curriculum, its outsized focus on testing -- and how all of this has crushed the morale of teachers, students and parents.
And if he holds true to form, King will patiently explain that the previous educational standards were not rigorous enough; that curriculum decisions are made by local school boards, not the state; and that teachers and students will adjust, in time.
That message is not playing well. Some of the forums have turned raucous, with picketing and boos and calls for the commissioner's resignation.
To King's credit, he is enduring it all with an even temper. He's listening. That's good. But will anything change?
Could it be that some of the frustration pouring out at these forums is because the commissioner and his bosses at the Board of Regents have not articulated what they will do with all this feedback they are collecting?
In announcing the forums, Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch said their purpose was "to understand how the implementation is going and what adjustments, if any, have to be made."
Just three years after its adoption and one year into implementation, an about-face on the Common Core standards seems unlikely. So how deeply are the commissioner and the regents prepared to adjust? What is their timetable for making those adjustments?
If the intent of the forums was to talk parents and educators out of their concerns about the Common Core, it does not appear to be working. If anything, hearts are hardening even more.
If the intent of the forums was to incorporate constructive feedback into future decisions, King should say so -- and be specific about how that will happen.
If there's nothing anyone can say to influence the path New York state is taking with the Common Core curriculum, then the forums are merely window-dressing.
I'm glad King was forced to hold so many public forums after his Poughkeepsie Common Core town hall meltdown.
I'm glad students, parents and teachers are getting the opportunity to tell King and Tisch to their faces the damage they are doing to children, the teaching profession, and the public school system.
But let's just dispense with the sham that King and Tisch plan to make any "adjustments" to their reform agenda after these forums.
They have told us again and again that they believe the Common Core standards, the SED-aligned curriculum that has been developed for districts to use (optionally, of course!), the APPR teacher evaluation system that mandates so much extra testing and places so much emphasis on the stakes, and the data collection project known as inBloom will continue whether the public wants this to happen or not.
In short, the so-called public servants, King and Tisch, have hijacked democracy and decided what they want will happen regardless of how the public thinks or feels about their reform agenda.
It's great to use these forums to continue to carry the message to the politicians that the Common Core is toxic for children, teachers and schools, but also for their own political careers.
Same goes for APPR, the Endless Testing regime and inBloom.
But there's no point in making believe King and Tisch are going to make any changes to the reform agenda without it being forced upon them by the politicians in the legislature and the governor's mansion.
I am sure the Syracuse editorial board understands this.
The track record is there for all to see who have eyes - King and Tisch are listening to the public at these forums, but they are not hearing anything that is being said.
They have too much Gates Foundation cashola in their ears to hear anything.