Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Reformy King John's Education Department Decrees Who May and May Not Have an Opinion

Today I was pretty surprised to learn who, specifically, were the "special interests" that precluded NY State Education Commissioner John King from having discussions with the people who pay his salary. We have now learned that they are Leonie Haimson's Class Size Matters, and our NY State union, NYSUT. These are the evil entities that seduced the parents in Poughkeepsie, according to King John's education department.

Apparently Class Size Matters and NYSUT are such insidious influences that no one can resist their fancy talk. Once anyone hears them, they are infected, kind of like The Walking Dead, and anyone else who speaks to them or hears them will get the bug and contradict King Reformy John in public. In a democracy, according to King John, this is unacceptable, and once people hear such subversive notions, they may no longer be permitted to speak in public. Reformy Gotham Schools seems to agree, characterizing parents expressing their opinions as disruptive protesters.

It's remarkable that any ostensible educator or journalist would come to such absurd conclusions, and even more remarkable that anyone can muster the audacity to air them in public. But there they are, ladies and gentlemen. One of the oddest things here is that NYSUT, in fact, strongly and unequivocally supports Common Core, as does AFT and UFT. Perhaps King John's researchers are to busy to keep up with current events. I regularly hear UFT voices saying that Common Core is necessary to promote higher-order thinking skills. Personally, I'd see criticism of an untested mandate like Common Core as an obvious and necessary task of a concerned citizen.

Yet Reformy John does not agree. His version of a concerned citizen is one who listens to him rattle on about Common Core for over 90 minutes and questions nothing whatsoever. Is that the sort of citizen Common Core is meant to create? Since he refuses to talk to any other sort, I can only suppose it is.

As for Class Size Matters, it's a shoestring organization that relies on contributions from people like us. Aren't we entitled to express ourselves in a democracy? Isn't this particularly important when people like Bill Gates,, Eli Broad, and the Walmart family are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to push things like Common Core, mayoral control, and even Reformy John's beloved charter schools on us?

It's pretty clear that the NYS Education Department opposes free speech for those of us who lack corporate backing. That is plainly unacceptable if we are still in the United States of America. Personally, I can come to no conclusion but that John King is unfit to serve, and should step down immediately.

If not sooner. In this space, both supporting and opposing views are welcome, and we ask only basic civility.
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