Firing John King isn’t Enough
By now it is clear that John King will likely be fired as the New York State Education Department Commissioner. Let’s recap why…
- King was speaking last Thursday at what was to be the first of several PTA Town Hall meetings intended to act as a Q & A on the Common Core State Standards. The meetings were supposed to be an hour of King presenting and an hour of questions from the audience.
- King spoke for over an hour and a half. When parents started to ask questions and and express anger during the remaining time, King spoke down to them and continuously told them that they needed to be quiet and listen to him. That made them angrier.
- On Friday King cancelled the remaining PTA Town Hall meetings scheduled for the rest of the state.
- King released a statement in which he referred to parents and educators as “special interests.”
In the interim nobody has come to King’s defense. Not his friend Andrew Cuomo. Not his good pal Merryl Tisch. Not his first day of school friend John Flanagan. Not surprisingly they have been in hiding since King went off the deep end.
While King’s friends have been off cowering in remote corners of the state, educators and parents have become further incensed. First at being so arrogantly dismissed by King and then by being labeled “special interests” by the guy who bows down to the all mighty Pearson. Their outrage is beginning to reach a fevered pitch and cannot go unanswered for much longer.
By this time it is almost certain that King will get the ax. Deservedly so. He has almost zero experience as an educator and is clearly in over his head. The powers that be, namely Cuomo and Tisch, will see to it that King is made an example of. But that won’t be enough because the real problem here isn’t John King. John King is merely a lackey. He is the water boy for the big players in the education deform movement. He exists simply to do the dirty work of Cuomo and Tisch. If he is fired he will simply be replaced with another reformy type.
Without John King we will still have the Common Core. Without John King we will still have the same high stakes testing. Without John King we still have Race to the Top, a junk science APPR, and a crippling tax cap. Without John King we are left with the same industry of trash that we have now… minus John King.
Cuomo and Tisch are the big guns. They are the ones setting the agenda. Cuomo taking money from hedge fund managers as he seeks presidential glory in 2016. Tisch as she seeks to further line the pockets of her fellow plutocrats.
So by all means, call for the firing of John King. Contact all of your elected officials about it. Scream and yell. Get mad. His behavior was an outrage and he deserves to be fired. But don’t stop there. Because that should just be the tip of the iceberg. 2014 is an election year. For Cuomo, for Flanagan, for Ken Lavalle, another enemy of public ed, and for the entire state legislator. If you really want to enact change, begin by voting them all out. A King firing is a victory, but a minor one at that. It is an action that should serve only to embolden teachers and parents. A sign that it’s time to ratchet up the heat on the ones pulling the strings.