Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, October 2, 2015

Is John King A Double Agent?

What John King will bring to the nation as Arne Duncan's replacement:

ALBANY — Almost exactly two years ago, John King stood on stage in an auditorium in Poughkeepsie, NY, trying to quiet angry parents while they booed, screamed and hurled personal insults at him.

Today, on a national stage, President Barack Obama tapped King to lead the U.S. Department of Education.

The fall of 2013 was arguably the most difficult period of King’s three-and-a-half year tenure as education commissioner in New York, where, as the state’s first black and first Latino schools chief, he led the implementation of the Common Core standards, controversial state exams aligned to the more difficult material, and teacher performance evaluations based partially on the tests.

After the Oct. 10, 2013, assembly devolved into chaos, King canceled (and subsequently rescheduled under pressure) the rest of his planned statewide tour, accusing “special interests” of co-opting the raucous crowd.

Teachers’ unions, parent groups and some state lawmakers called for King’s resignation. The state’s powerful teachers’ union later held a no-confidence vote to make official their feelings about him. A parent-led and union-boosted testing boycott movement began under his leadership, and subsequently exploded.

You would almost think, from his track record, that he's double agent against ed reform.

Seriously, few have done so much to damage reform as purported education reformer John King.

Would the opt out movement be as big as it is in New York if King hadn't fanned the flames?

Would the polling on Common Core, testing and the like be as negative as it is for reformers in New York without John King's aid (see here and here)?

Heckuva job this King does.


  1. I had a very similar thought -

  2. What's kind of interesting is that there are many functions that a Cabinet Secretary carries out but that to carry them out the Cabinet Secretary must be approved by the Senate.

    I'm speculating here, but "Acting Secretary King" may not be able to authorize procurements, sign contracts or make certain personnel assignments. Of course, there are plenty of Senate-approved assistant and deputy secretaries who can do all this for him but it does all make the appointment more than silly.

    As other Cabinet members jump off the lame-duck "USS Obama" it will be interesting to see whether any sane, credible person would be willing to sign on for a 12 month gig which requires that person to be confirmed by a Republican Senate.

    The only thing to be said about King is that his tenure will be short and his affect on education policy negligible--unless, of course, they let him out of DC often enough to inflict the sort of incompetence he demonstrated in NYS on the rest of the country.

    I wonder if he's even allowed to sign his own mail?

  3. Welcome back Lil John Looking forward to having you to kick around some more!