Dear Commons Community,
Following on the heels of parent groups calling for NYS Education Commissioner to resign last month, a meeting on Long Island resulted in the same demand on the part of parents and teachers. As reported in Newsday:
“An emotional crowd of about 1,500 parents and educators packed Ward Melville High School’s auditorium and cafeteria last night for a forum with state Education Commissioner John B. King Jr., cheering speakers who assailed state testing and Common Core academic standards and at times shouting down King as he tried to speak.
Eric Gustafson, a teacher in Three Village school district, brought those in the 900-capacity auditorium to their feet, cheering and clapping, when he said that Common Core and a new system of teacher and principal evaluations are “draining us of time and resources.”
“Your approach has taken the joy out of teaching and the adventure out of learning,” Gustafson said, adding that parents and teachers are begging for delay in implementation of new curriculums and tougher tests, but “nothing is happening.”
“Your message is clear,” he said to King, who was accompanied to the East Setauket school by Merryl Tisch, chancellor of the state Board of Regents. “You are staying with the governor and big business.”
Tisch at one point pleaded with the crowd, “I know you are passionate. We hear you. We get it.”
Commissioner King is taking the heat for the Race to the Top funding deal that Governor Mario Cuomo and Chancellor Tisch agreed to with Arne Duncan and the U.S. Department of Education. Essentially the quid pro quo was $800 million in federal funding in exchange for New York implementing the Common Core curriculum, establishing teacher evaluation systems based on standardized test sores, and contributing to a national student database.