The state’s largest and most powerful teacher’s union on Saturday issued a declaration of “no confidence” in state Education Commissioner John King, a symbolic but unprecedented gesture calling for King’s removal from his post by the state Board of Regents.
The resolution states that the board declares “no confidence in the policies of the Commissioner of Education.” Earlier this month, NYSUT president Richard Iannuzzi announced that he would seek the action in an interview on Time Warner’s “Capital Tonight” program.
NYSUT’s board also withdrew its support for the state’s new Common Core learning standards “as implemented and interpreted in New York” until the State Education Department “makes major course corrections” and “supports a three-year moratorium on high-stakes consequences from standardized testing.”
“SED’s implementation plan in New York state has failed,” said Iannuzzi in a statement. “The commissioner has pursued policies that repeatedly ignore the voices of parents and educators who have identified problems and called on him to move more thoughtfully.”
UPDATE: Education Commissioner John King and state Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch issued a statement Saturday afternoon in response to the NYSUT vote. The statement follows, in entirety:
“Every year more than 140,000 New York students leave high school without the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in college or the workplace. Many are essentially trapped in a lifetime of economic despair. Together with the Board of Regents, the Governor, and legislature, we will make necessary adjustments and modifications to the implementation of the Common Core, but now is not the time to weaken standards for teaching and learning. Our students are counting on us to help them develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in life. The higher standards the Common Core sets will help them do just that.”
This is a huge step in the right direction for NYSUT. Of course Tisch and her puppet John King don’t care. We have known for quite a while that they are not listening to anybody and that they are planning to steamroll forward with their agenda. Tisch and her plutocrat cronies, after all, have far too much money to lose should this privatization scheme fail in New York State. She isn’t going to let hoards of teachers, students, and parents get in her way. Which of course is why it is exceedingly important to keep the pressure on your state legislators and the governor. Let them know that if there is not a full withdrawal from Race to the Top, they will pay with their jobs in November.
Reality-Based Educator says, “While these moves will not make the Andy Cuomo contingent of the state union happy – namely Mike Mulgrew and the UFT leadership – they surely will make many in the rank-and-file around the state happy.” Be sure to check out his reaction at the Perdido Street School blog.