NY State Teachers Union Wants Education Commissioner Removed

January 27, 2014 Updated: October 8, 2018

NEW YORK—New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) issued a “no confidence” resolution on Saturday 25, calling for the removal of John King, Jr. as the state’s Commissioner of Education.

The state’s leading teachers union criticized the way State Education Department (SED) implemented the Common Core—a set of standards promising better preparation of students for college and career.

“The commissioner has pursued policies that repeatedly ignore the voices of parents and educators who have identified problems and called on him to move more thoughtfully,” said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi, according to a NYSUT press release. “Instead of listening to and trusting parents and teachers to know and do what’s right for students, the commissioner has offered meaningless rhetoric and token change.”

While recognizing merits of the standards themselves, NYSUT said their implementation failed and would stop supporting Common Core until the SED “makes major course corrections.”

The key demand of the union is a 3-year moratorium on any important decisions based on state-issued tests aligned to the Common Core. Under the current system, teachers can receive a failing grade if their students fail to improve on the Common Core tests. Teachers can consequently lose their jobs after multiple failures.

In defense, King and the Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch issued a joint statement. “Together with the Board of Regents, the Governor, and legislature, we will make necessary adjustments and modifications to the implementation of the Common Core, but now is not the time to weaken standards for teaching and learning,” it reads.

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