NY Ed Commish John King Bans Free Speech at LI Common Core Forums


dethrone the king

Commissioner John King

Update: 11/12/13: Parents were allowed to speak and ask questions at the East Setauket meeting on Tuesday evening. Everyone who commented was opposed to the manner of implementation and the testing surrounding Common Core. The idea of common standards was supported by many. The Commissioner, Sen. Flanagan, and Chancellor Tisch said they were listening but their comments sounded hollow. They said they would make adjustments but weren’t specific.

As the forum in the East Setauket school got under way, nearly every seat in the 900-capacity auditorium was filled. Several people in the back held signs with the letters “SOS.”

Speaker after speaker — from school principals to teachers — blasted the state for over-reliance on testing, drawing applause and cheers from the standing-room-only crowd.

I guess we’ll see, but parents and teachers need to show up at meetings and they need to keep making their voices heard.


When New York’s State Education Commissioner John King allows free speech at his town halls, they don’t go well. There is a good reason for that. Common Core in New York is a disaster.

If you need to get caught up, read all about it on this link. The video of the Poughkeepsie rally is particularly worthwhile listening to. It is what Commissioner King does not want a repeat of. The parents of Poughkeepsie spoke their mind and tried to explain to him what the Core was doing to their children.

He wants no more of that. He is holding a dozen meetings throughout Long Island but they are completely controlled. They are by no means open forums.

The first will be tomorrow night from 6 to 8 at Ward Melville High School in East Setauket and another will be in Mineola on Wednesday.

Sen. John Flanagan, an unpopular proponent of Common Core, coordinated the event in East Setauket. Numerous parents I spoke with said he won’t come out of his office to speak with them about Common Core.

The meeting in East Setauket will have five hand-selected people from each of 12 Suffolk County school districts who will be seated in the reserved section. Three people from each district will be given two minutes to speak. Their questions have been pre-screened.

Other seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis with an overflow crowed allowed to watch the meeting on closed-circuit TV.

Mineola is doing it differently. They are giving out tickets to 15 Nassau County school districts. It will be viewable on the Internet.

“These are not open forums,’ said North Bellmore parent Jeanette Deutermann. She said she believes state officials set tighter restrictions on Island forums than those elsewhere. “We all have a right to be heard.’ [Newsday, Limits on School Forums, November 11]

The Commissioner keeps sending out the message that the standards are tough when they are hardly that. He wants New Yorkers to believe that our children have really been learning nothing until he came along. So far, parents aren’t falling for it. Many are seeing their children come home confused, hating school, and losing interest in their schoolwork and it was all so unnecessary.