Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Why Won't NYSED Commissioner John King Face Parents Over His Education Agenda?

Via NYC Eye, we learn that the first of four hearings on the NYSED/Regents education reform agenda was held on Long Island, and it did not go well for the deformers from the state:

The growing focus on testing in New York’s schools is sickening students, bewildering parents and threatening to undermine public confidence in the state’s education system, speaker after speaker said Tuesday at a public hearing on the state’s “reform” agenda.

Jeanette Deutermann, a mother of two from Bellmore, said she had to take one son to the doctor last year because he was so stressed out by test preparation.

“I don’t care about the data; I don’t care about the statistics,” she said. “I care that I want my son to like to learn.”

Deutermann, who started a Facebook page for parents on Long Island wanting to pull their children from state-directed tests, was addressing the state Senate’s Education Committee. The committee Tuesday held the first of four planned hearings on the state’s ongoing reforms: the Common Core learning standards; new teacher evaluations; tougher state tests; new student data systems; and more.

And how did NYSED Commissioner John King take hearing parents criticize his education reform agenda?

He didn't take it all - he was too big a coward (or just too "big") to attend the hearing, so he sent his deputy, Ken Wagner, instead:

The soft-spoken Wagner, a well-liked former school psychologist, was on the defensive from the start. Standing in for Education Commissioner John King, he was peppered with questions about the state’s rush to roll out new standards and tests.

“There always has to be a year one,” he said. Wagner conceded the state has to more effectively explain its goals to teachers and parents.

The problem here is that John King and his merry education reformers at the NYSED don't think they have to explain anything to anybody.

As yesterday's Politico story on the rising opposition to Common Core makes clear, many education reformers haven't bothered to try and get buy-in from stakeholders like parents and teachers and instead have gone ahead with an autocratic imposition of the Common Core standards, the associated tests and "assessments," and the data tracking and teacher evaluation systems that go with all of this.

Only now, the education reformers are learning that people don't like having the wool pulled over their eyes, they don't like having questionable education reforms imposed on their children, and they don't like the arrogance with which the reformers have treated students, parents and teachers.

That arrogance was on display this week when NYSED Commissioner John King let his deputy commissioner take the heat for his agenda.

I can't say I'm surprised by this, of course.

King will show up at education reform symposiums where he can be feted by his fellow education reformers, but he's not going into a room full of people wanting to question him over evaluations, inBloom, Pearson and the rest of the education reform mess he has brought us.

He doesn't have the guts to do that.

What are you scared of, John?

Why don't you meet the parents and teachers face to face for some discussion over your reform agenda?

There are still three more meetings.

Clear your schedule and come defend your agenda in person instead of hiding behind your deputy.


  1. It's so typical of these cowards to send a "well-liked former school psychologist" - not that Wagner deserves any sympathy, since he freely chose to work with these privateers - to be a punching bag for parent anger over deranged, authoritarian policies that were developed without any input from actual stakeholders.

    Liars and cowards, all, who now are beginning to see their house of cards collapse, and are panicking.

    1. That panicking part is so interesting. They thought they had their reforms through, done deal, nothing anybody could do about it. But parents and teachers and the public are up in arms in state after state and the reformers are getting desperate in their counterattacks. To rename the Common Core or hire sports starts to promote the Common Core (without actually using the words "common" or "core" in the ads) or get the business roundtable to sell the Core to the public - these are not measures that are going to work. This is what happens when an out-of-touch corporately-funded reform contingent pushes change through in relative secret. When people find out, all hell breaks loose.

  2. Please not that the King had ample time to attend an event hosted by the repugnant E4E.

    1. That's a great point, Patrick. I forgot about that. I will be hitting this topic again and I will make sure I point out how King was happy to visit with the E4E's but can't be bothered to meet with parents.

  3. We invited King and SED to speak at our town hall on inBloom and they refused; they have stonewalled us at every turn and refuse to answer any of our questions. And now, NY is the only inBloom "partner" that is sharing the personal data for every public school student in the state w/out parental opt out or consent. 5 states have completely pulled out and Jefferson Co, CO, one of the few remaining participants, announced they will let parents to opt out. NY is now officially the most contemptuous state in the nation when it comes to student privacy and parent rights.

    1. Contemptuous is right - and that contempt comes not just from King and his merry reformers at NYSED but from his boss, Andy Cuomo, too.

      But as parents rise up across the state and start making their anger known to their representatives, King and Cuomo will have less maneuver room to keep this stuff going.

      You're doing a great job keeping the pressure on these people over inBloom and the data sell-out.

      That they think they can hand over personal and confidential data to any entity is problematic.

      But when the two entities involved are Gates/Microsoft (with all the associations the NSA story conjures up over that) and News Corp (after the hacking scandal), it's really, really problematic.

  4. Don't forget that the chairman of the NYS Senate Education Committee is one of King's cronies, John Flanagan. Flanagan let Wagner give his entire presentation and then made every other presenter cut theirs down. This is the same Flanagan who spent the first day of school touring schools with King ( The same Flanagan who has known ties to ALEC and whose top campaign contributor last fall was Students First.

    1. Absolutely - Flanagan is holding these hearings to make it look like he's addressing parents' concerns, not because he actually cares about their concerns or plans to do anything about them.

      He risks angering these same parents he's trying to fool by having these sham hearings if they perceive they're shams and the fix is in no matter what happens at them.

      Alas, until voters in his district make it clear, do something about the corporate education agenda or we'll find someone else to do it for us, Flanagan will continue to do what it is he is doing - supporting the ALEC/Gates Foundation agenda while paying lip service to parents.

      Still, a great article in Newsday and once again, people on Long Island leading the way on the fight back against corporate deform - first Port Jeff, now hundreds of parents letting the NYSED shill have it and getting a great article in the paper out of it.

    2. The rally in August was actually Port Jeff Station... people out here would be quick to point out it isn't Port Jeff, lol. Literally the other side of the tracks. Port Jeff is an extremely affluent area filled with reformy types who think their teachers should shut up and do as they're told. Port Jeff Station, home of the Comsewogue School District, is a much more blue color area with people who care about public ed and don't appreciate having politicians try to pull the wool over their eyes while taking advantage of their children. Incidentally, Dr. Rella, who spoke out loudly against reforms, is superintendent in Comsewogue and Senator Flanagan represents a portion of the area. Flanagan was actually one of the recipients of Rella's famous letters and chose not to reply... not publicly anyway! Flanagan has had too many shoo in elections the last few terms. We will make sure that isn't the case next November. He'll hear us loud and clearly soon enough!

    3. Thanks for correcting me - you know, I attended Stony Brook back in the 80's, I should know that Port Jefferson Station is NOT Port Jefferson! I'll make sure to give the credit to Port Jefferson Station from now on when I mention the rally.

    4. Yeah we are hyper sensitive about that! lol