Education Comissioner John King, Regent James Jackson and a handful of state lawmakers heard criticism from parents and teachers Wednesday, but the Education Department’s revamped forum on the Common Core standards remained civil on Thursday.
Several hundred packed into a middle-school auditorium in Albany on Thursday to sound off on the state’s newly implemented Common Core standards, as the Education Department kicked off the first of its revamped forums on the more-stringent student requirements.
Sixty-seven parents, teachers and students each took a two-minute turn at the microphone, with most criticizing New York’s rollout of the standards while calling on state Education Commissioner John King and other officials to slow the process.
The forum was filled with spirited applause as speakers knocked the tougher standardized tests that are a key part of the curriculum, which was implemented for the first time last year for third- through eighth-graders.
But a new meeting format that allowed for more public comment appeared to avoid the type of angry confrontation with King that led to his heavily criticized decision to cancel four Parent Teacher Association forums this month.
“We do not want your corporately backed Common Core,” Tim Farley, principal of Ichabod Crane Middle School in Valatie, Columbia County, said to cheers from the crowd. “We don’t like it as parents and we certainly don’t like it as educators.”
King and the Education Department announced a 16-stop “listening tour” late last week after he abruptly canceled the PTA forums following a contentious meeting at Spackenkill High School in Poughkeepsie this month. King’s controversial move — which he blamed on unnamed “special interests” that had “co-opted” the Spackenkill event — led to calls for his resignation from at least two state lawmakers and a parent group.
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(Mike Groll/AP Photo)