New York State Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE) supports New York State United Teachers’ (NYSUT) board resolution declaring “no confidence” in the policies of State Education Commissioner John King. For many months, parents, educators, and communities across New York State have raised voices of concern and outrage regarding Commissioner King’s lack of responsiveness and transparency. Republican and Democratic legislators alike recently escalated serious concerns regarding Commissioner King’s leadership. Parents and educators from all corners of the Empire State have simply lost faith and trust in the New York State Education Department and Commissioner King.
NYSUT’s call for John King’s removal by the NYS Board of Regents echoes NYSAPE’s call for the Commissioner’s resignation in October of 2013. Tim Farley, a Principal and parent of four school-aged children said, “NYSUT’s call for the removal of Commissioner King only confirms what we have known all along; parents and teachers are united in their belief that the Commissioner of Education has failed in his duty to responsibly oversee public education in NYS. It is time for new leadership; leadership that puts students first, and that is exactly what parents and teachers want.”
While NYSUT’s resolution is a welcome turn of events, many wonder if it goes far enough. Jessica McNair, a New Hartford parent of two children said, “It is not enough to call for a ‘moratorium’ or ‘delay’ in the practice of attaching high stakes consequences to Common Core-based state tests. High stakes for students and teacher evaluations tied to those scores create unhealthy school cultures.” Also, on the negative impact of using high-stakes tests on children and linking the score to teacher evaluations, Katie Zahedi, a Mid-Hudson Principal said, “This is a corrosive practice that needs to be abolished. No amount of professional development or funding will correct the inherently flawed process of using these test scores for teacher evaluations.”
Chris Cerrone, a Western NY parent and educator, said, “What we really need is an immediate suspension to all Common Core testing, and that means for the 2013-2014 school year. We need to take a critical look at what value the Common Core holds for NYS and ask, ‘Why did we adopt standards that were created without sufficient input of New York State educators?’ We know that there are problems with the Common Core. Therefore, we need to question the wisdom of calling for a delay in implementation rather than a screeching halt.”
New York State Allies for Public Education represents forty-five grassroots parent groups from every corner of the Empire State. These organizations are proud to stand with the parents, community members and fellow educators in NYSAPE to call for a change in direction and policy beginning with new leadership at the New York State Education Department.