Dear Commons Community,
Earlier this week, New York State Commissioner of Education John King sent a letter to all school district superintendents, urging them to support the new Common Core curriculum that has been the focus of much debate among educators and parents. As reported in The Huffington Post:
“[King] penned a letter to state superintendents, school principals and other school leaders to defend the standards and clear up what he called “misinformation” being spread about them. He also reaffirmed his commitment to the Common Core, while recognizing that the implementation process has posed certain challenges.
The Common Core State Standards, a set of learning benchmarks, have been adopted in a vast majority of states in an effort to make sure students around the country are being taught to the same measures. After New York was one of the first states to start implementing the standards, King faced backlash from citizens who felt the process was rushed and done without transparency.
The commissioner held a series of forums around the state this fall to allow parents and educators could voice their concerns. Many of the forums turned hostile, however, and a contingency of parents and education advocates have been calling for King’s resignation since.
“We understand that implementation of the Common Core and teacher/principal evaluation in a time of limited resources has come with significant challenges,” King wrote. “The Board of Regents and I knew we would encounter a good amount of concern in the public forums. We want – and need – to hear from teachers, parents, and students as these important changes in practice occur in classrooms, schools, and communities across the State.”
He also argued the complaints expressed at the forums were based on “misinformation,” and disputed the idea that the Common Core will lead to additional standardized testing.”
King is right in defending the substance and intent of the Common Core curriculum. The problem with it at least in New York was that the implementation was rushed. Teachers were not trained to use it and curriculum materials were not available in many school districts. Commissioner King has to accept the blame for this. It was not “misinformation”, it was poor planning and management on his agency’s part.