NYS Allies for Public Education, a state-wide coalition representing over 40 organizations, continues to call for Commissioner John King’s resignation despite newly scheduled “small forums”. The canceling of last week’s series of PTA Town Hall meetings is only one indicator of King’s inability to give all stakeholders a public avenue to voice their concerns. Only after fierce pressure and calls for his resignation from parents did Commissioner King agree to schedule these “small forums”, and NYSAPE is concerned that the revised format will not give parents adequate opportunity to express their concerns.
John King’s recent behavior is part of a continuing pattern of disregard for the voices of parents, teachers, principals, superintendents and other concerned citizens. Commissioner King has demonstrated time and again that despite the serious concerns raised by parents and educators, he plans to adhere to a hasty plan of action that harms children.
Lisa Rudley, parent and NYSAPE founding member, stated “John King knows what we are saying, but is not willing to change direction and is continuing on this aggressive schedule at all costs.”
Chris Tanis, a parent from New Paltz says, “John King is unqualified for the position that he holds. Only arrogance and inexperience can explain rolling out a curriculum in such a haphazard way. I am an educator and I can tell you that no teacher that knew what he was doing would pull the rug out from under students like this. His policies hurt my child in real life, in real time. This is not hypothetical for my family and me. Some of the information that John King is forcing my son’s school to share about him is information that in a doctor’s office would be protected under HIPAA law. The damage is real for many of New York’s school children and John King doesn’t want to know about it. I guarantee that you will not hear opinions like mine at any of these newly scheduled forums.”
New York State Assemblyman Tom Abinanti (D-Greenburgh/Mt. Pleasant) continues to call for the Commissioner to step down. “NYSED’s announcement of a new series of forums is welcome but should supplement not substitute for Commissioner King’s resignation” stated Assemblyman Abinanti.
To date, Commissioner King has not apologized to parents for abruptly cancelling forums nor has he proven his allegation that emails were sent out prior to the Poughkeepsie town hall meeting with the intent of disrupting the town hall meetings. The Commissioner has disregarded parental preferences regarding participation in state testing and has been unresponsive to parent concerns regarding the transmission of sensitive student data to third party vendors He has furthermore mishandled the Common Core Learning Standards by rushing their implementation and tying them to excessive testing.
According to NYSED’s website, the agenda for the next meeting of the full Board of Regents bears no mention of addressing parent concerns. We as parents must continue to take action; it is up to us to protect our children and to protect the integrity of public education in NYS. Commissioner King’s behavior at the meeting in Poughkeepsie simply illustrates what has been happening all along. “John King has failed parents over and over and over. This is not the first time, but we must make certain it is the last time. He must resign.” said Eric Mihelbergel, parent and NYSAPE founding member.