Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Commissioner John King Claims "Special Interests" Planned "Chaos" At Town Hall Meetings

Commissioner John King surfaced at a school in Troy, New York today where Capital NY caught up with him to ask about his cancellation of the PTA-sponsored twn hall meetings with parents on Common Core.

Here is what King said:

King also elaborated on his decision Monday to cancel four town-hall meetings with parents about the Common Core changes, after he encountered a rowdy crowd in Poughkeepsie last week. He said the meeting was not constructive and that he would work with the state Parent Teacher Association to create other opportunities for dialogue.

“There was heckling and screaming throughout," King said of the Poughkeepsie meeting last Thursday. "One parent, at one point, asked to try to be able to listen and for people to quiet down, and people started yelling at that parent. There were very loud outbursts, epithets yelled. It just wasn't a constructive environment for talking about much of anything."

King reiterated his argument that “special interest” groups that are opposed to the state's education reform initiatives planned to create chaos at the meeting. He wouldn't name or characterize the groups, saying “it doesn't matter really” who the groups were; it matters only that they were working to disrupt the meeting, he said.

“[They] were opposed to the changes to teacher evaluations, are now opposed to the Common Core, and organized to try and disrupt the event,” King said. “They actually sent out e-mails encouraging folks to be disruptive in the event, to dominate the microphone. There were folks handing out fliers filled with misinformation beforehand.

“So there was a systematic effort, not just for this meeting, but for all of the meetings, to try to disrupt them and prevent real discussion about the work that's happening in classrooms, on behalf of students,” he said.

Make any statement about Common Core, the state's testing regimen, or the SED reform agenda that Commissioner King doesn't agree with and you're engaging in "misinformation."

Send out an email telling people about an opportunity to attend a town hall meeting that King is headlining and you're planning "chaos."

Get angry when King monopolizes the dialogue and express that anger by telling him to let you talk during your allotted time and you're "disrupting" the meeting.

That's John King's story over the Poughkeepsie fiasco and he's sticking it to.

But I'd like to point out that I still haven't seen any prominent reform voice defend him over Poughkeepsie or his calling the parents at the meeting "special interests."

I have seen one politician tell him he should listen to parents and restore the town hall meeting schedule.

I have seen one newspaper editorial board concur with that.

But I haven't seen any of the reformers, David Coleman for example, defend Commissioner King.

That remains very, very telling.

King is out there alone - at least for now.

We'll see if anybody rallies to him.

As things stand now, his explanations over why he canceled the future town hall meetings with parents are making things worse, not better.

Today's explanation isn't much better than the infamous "special interests hijacked the meeting" statement from over the weekend. 

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