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New York City Public School Parents Deserve to be Heard by Education Commissioner John King
New York City – It is unacceptable that State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. and the State Board of Regents are planning to hold a series of 12 forums across the state to meet with parents and educators to discuss the Common Core Standards and other education reforms, yet not a single forum will be held in New York City. NYC’s one million public school students account for a third of the state’s total public school enrollment. Change the Stakes calls on state legislators who represent NYC students, their parents and their teachers to demand that the Board of Regents schedule a public forum in each of the five boroughs. These forums must offer meaningful public discussion in which education officials acknowledge and respond to questions and concerns rather than dismissing them or explaining them away.
The Regents scheduled the forums, along with four additional events to be broadcast on public television, after Commissioner King abruptly cancelled four state-sponsored PTA town hall meetings after parents responded angrily at being given little time to speak at an event in Poughkeepsie. King later alleged that the meeting was “co-opted by special interests whose stated goal is to ‘dominate’ the questions and manipulate the forum.” The newly scheduled forums will undoubtedly be much more tightly controlled than the original large, town hall meetings.
King’s outrageous statement about “special interests” and the shutting down of public debate are indicative of a much larger problem: New York State education officials, from the governor on down, have completely disregarded the genuine, sincere and deeply-felt concerns of parents about what is in the best interests of our children. It is demeaning, demoralizing and downright undemocratic to attempt to silence parents, teachers, principals and others who, day in and day out, witness the harmful effects on children of poorly formulated and rashly implemented state education policies.
Commissioner King: The public school parents and educators of NYC deserve to be heard.
According to an October 18th press release from the State Education Department:The first forum will be held in the Albany City School District on October 24. Other locations for the forums are Rochester, Westchester, Suffolk County (2), Nassau County (2), Schroon Lake, Binghamton, Amherst, Syracuse, and Jamestown. The four PBS televised forums will be in Syracuse -WCNY (November 7), Plattsburgh-WCFE (November 20), Binghamton- WSKG (date tba) and Rochester- WXXI (December 3). King said more PBS forums will be scheduled.
Change the Stakes (changethestakes.org) is a group of parents and educators working to reduce the harm caused by high stakes-testing, which we believe must be replaced by valid forms of student, teacher, and school assessment.