ALBANY, N.Y. – During a low point in the Iraq War, President George W. Bush quipped that he wouldn’t change his policy even if his only remaining supporters were his wife and their dog, Barney.
It might be time for New York Education Commissioner John King to find his own “Barney” to help him get through the state’s ongoing – and expanding – battle over the new Common Core learning standards.
Over the weekend, leaders of New York’s largest teachers union passed a resolution rescinding their earlier support of the new, one-size-fits-all learning standards – at least as they’ve been as they’ve been “implemented and interpreted” by the New York Education Department, the Washington Post reports.
The New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) bigwigs also declared they have “no confidence” in King’s policies and called for his removal by the Board of Regents, according to a union press release.
NYSUT leaders say they still support the premise behind Common Core, but say King’s efforts to implement the standards have “failed.” The unionists are also calling for a three-year moratorium on any consequences teachers will face if their students perform poorly on the state’s new, Common Core-aligned standardized tests.
The union leaders’ announcement has to be a big blow for King, who was already under intense criticism from a large number of New York parents and school leaders who are upset over the effects Common Core is having in the state’s schools.
New Yorkers say their schools haven’t had the time or materials teachers need to adequately implement the new standards, and are outraged that King still supports giving students Common Core-aligned tests. Teachers are equally dismayed that their job reviews will soon be affected by their students’ scores on these tests.
Numerous parents are also alarmed by the state’s plans to collect and store sensitive student data on a state-controlled database, and have not been shy about sharing those concerns with King.
It’s not hyperbole to say the Common Core experiment is rapidly spinning out of control in New York.
King’s ability to continue implementing Common Core as the state’s top education leader has to be in serious jeopardy now that the 600,000-member NYSUT is making his ouster a top priority. The Washington Post notes that rank-and-file NYSUT members will weigh-in on the leaders’ resolution when they meet for their Representative Assembly meeting in April.
Those who reside outside New York should find King’s trials very informative. The Empire State is a year ahead of virtually all the other Common Core-affiliated states in implementing the new learning standards and the accompanying standardized tests.
Many state leaders must be studying King’s difficulties, knowing it’s a preview of the difficulties they may soon be facing.
If New York parents, teachers, unionists and lawmakers succeed in delaying the Common Core-aligned standardized tests or in establishing privacy rules for student data, it will embolden Core critics in other states to follow suit.