Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, October 25, 2013

Commissioner King "Listens" To The Public, But Was Persuaded By Nothing They Said

Again, I was at parent teacher conferences yesterday, so I was unable to watch the live stream of Commissioner King's Albany town hall meeting with parents over Common Core.

But here's the takeaway I got from Jessica Bakeman's reporting on the meeting at Capital NY.

500 parents, teachers and administrators showed up to talk to the King.

The crowd was "rambunctious" but "ultimately respectful".

The turnout was smaller than anticipated (gee, that wouldn't have anything to do with the 4 PM start time, would it?)

And the majority of speakers were critical of Common Core, the state testing, SED, and Commissioner King.

How did King receive the message he was hearing?

He "listened" without really "hearing" anything:

King seemed to be listening attentively and taking notes during the meeting, and showed little reaction when some emotional parents signaled him out personally or told him to “get out of the way.”

The commissioner said helping students reach the higher bar set by the Common Core is “our shared challenge.”

“We don't agree on everything, but that doesn't mean we didn't listen,” King said, closing the meeting. “Listening is about hearing people's concerns [and] making adjustments, but it doesn't mean that we are in any way backing away from the commitment to moving the Common Core forward.”

 Making adjustments, but not backing away from their agenda of moving Common Core forward...

In other words, the forum was a dog and pony show put on by the King.

The Regents and other powers that be behind him let him know in no uncertain terms there could be no repeat of Poughkeepsie so he paid lip service to listening to public concerns over his agenda...he even said as much:

“The Poughkeepsie event is behind all of us,” King said during a media briefing held before Thursday's forum. “Everyone in the education sector in the state understands that it's important that we have good constructive dialogue about the interest of our students, and that's what I expect tonight.”

But there is no "constructive dialogue" between parties when one party has no intention of changing its policies or agenda.

And King told us as much yesterday in Albany - I'll repeat that quote:

"We don't agree on everything, but that doesn't mean we didn't listen,” King said, closing the meeting. “Listening is about hearing people's concerns [and] making adjustments, but it doesn't mean that we are in any way backing away from the commitment to moving the Common Core forward.”

About the only adjustment they plan to make is the listening tour where King only speaks for a few minutes and then is forced to listen to members of the public for a couple of hours.

The rest of the SED education reform agenda - the testing, the Common Core curricula, the awful SED Common Core lesson modules, the data collection, the teacher evaluation system, the Endless Testing throughout the year - that's all staying.

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