ALBANY — Abrupt meeting notices and inconvenient timing for parents and teachers could hamper Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Common Core task force as it attempts to gather information about the controversial standards, education advocates say.
Last week, the task force announced its first public meeting (in New Rochelle) just two days before the event was held. And on Tuesday, the task force announced it will host five listening sessions on Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. in regions across the state to taking testimony from the public on the standards.
The task force's website, however, had incomplete information about the meetings and faulty links.
After POLITICO New York made inquiries about the schedule with the governor's office on Tuesday afternoon, the times and locations were removed from the site entirely and were later replaced.
The process has caused some concern among advocates.
“If you wanted to maximize participation, you would publish the dates, times, and locations two weeks in advance,” said Billy Easton, executive director of the advocacy group the Alliance for Quality Education, which is partially funded by teachers' unions.
Ah, but therein lies the problem - they don't want to maximize participation.
And they don't want another Poughkeepsie:
The timing of the meetings also is inconvenient for parents and teachers who are still working or for those picking up their children from school, said Jeanette Deutermann, co-founder of anti-testing group New York State Allies for Public Education and administrator of Long Island Opt Out.
“Who exactly are they looking to target?” Deutermann asked. “There’s a time problem. If you’re truly looking to get some voices heard, this certainly isn’t the way to do it.”
“You either give them the benefit of the doubt and say they’re just scrambling to try to put these things together … but you could say this is by design,” she said.
Deutermann referred to the Common Core town hall meetings in 2013 where former state education commissioner John King was met by hundreds of frustrated parents. King later came under fire for canceling and subsequently rescheduling a series of these public forums.
“We packed a giant auditorium,” Deutermann said. “They know that’s the potential. Maybe that was a way to stave that off.”
Hey, let's have some flash Common Core task force meetings, we'll announce them an hour beforehand on the governor's twitter feed and see what happens!
Then we'll have a few meetings that we announce a couple of days beforehand, but give limited info about on the task force's website.
Then the governor will give the task force the plan he wants them to give him back and they'll vote "yes" on it and it'll all be over.
Enjoy the dog and pony show.