In an interview that will air on Capital Tonight this evening, state Education Commissioner John King shrugged off the news that NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi plans to ask his Board of Directors for a no confidence vote on King’s leadership, saying that in his opinion, the teachers union’s real beef appears to be with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature.
King argued that what NYUST is really after is a renegotiation of the teacher performance evaluation deal struck in 2012, and not a delay of the implementation of the Common Core curriculum.
“I understand Mr. Iannuzzi is under a lot of internal pressure; I understand that may lead to attacking me,” King told me earlier today. “But it strikes me that that the real dispute he has is the with the governor and the Legislature.”“I know he expressed his disappointment with the governor’s State of the State for not backing down on the evaluation law on which we all agreed,” the commissioner continued. “So, the question really for NYSUT is: They’re committed to the Common Core, they’re committed to the evaluation system; they have to explain why they think we should change the evaluation that we all agreed to that we all believed is in the interest of students.”
King's right, of course - NYSUT, along with the AFT, the UFT and the NEA, have all expressed support and continue to express support for the Common Core.
King's right that the NYSUT, along with the AFT and UFT, have also all expressed approval for the APPR teacher evaluation system - in fact, Iannuzzi stood on stage along with Mike Mulgrew to announce in February 2012 that they were dropping the lawsuit against the Regents for increasing the testing component in the APPR eval system and had come to an agreement with SED, the Regents and the governor that the system as devised by Tisch, King and Cuomo should go forward.
Finally King is right when he alludes to the fact that he real power behind him is Cuomo and the legislature (or more specifically, the campaign donors who buy Cuomo and the legislature, but you get the point) - NYSUT calling for a "no confidence" vote on King does nothing so long as the Regents Board remains constituted with a pro-reform power base, and it does nothing so long as the governor continues to support the reform agenda (as he clearly does) and the legislature takes no meaningful action to change the reform agenda in the law.
In short, John King called "bullshit" on Dick Iannuzzi and John King is right to do so.
The union leadership continues to support CCSS and attacks members who question or criticize it, the union leadership continues to support APPR and attacks anybody who questions or criticizes it.
By calling for a "no confidence" vote on King, Iannuzzi, like Randi Weingarten's "VAM is SHAM" sham this week, is simply trying to make it look like he's taking meaningful action to stem the harm done by the SED/Regents/Cuomo reform agenda while really doing nothing much at all to mitigate the damage or change the trajectory of the agenda.
If Ianuzzi were really taking meaningful action here, he would be calling for King's ouster, and Tisch's ouster, and telling Cuomo in no uncertain terms that if APPR remains as it is, if CCSS is not changed, if inBloom continues to go forward, the unions will cut 5% or more from his 2014 re-election totals by sitting out election day.
The same message should be sent to Legislators - unions work against Legislators who continue to promote or support the reform agenda.
But the union leadership does not send those messages out to the politicians of this state because they are still on the take from the Gates Foundation and the other ed deform "non profits" that hand out the cash in return for CCSS support and other reforminess backing.
You won't see this too often, but I agree with John King here.
Iannuzzi, like Weingarten at the AFT, is talking tough in public, but the action remains very, very reformy-friendly in reality.
If Iannuzzi really wanted to short-circuit the reforms, he would be aiming at Cuomo and the Legislature.