State Education Commissioner Forum Missed the Point

December 13, 2013 Updated: October 8, 2018    

NEW YORK—When State Commissioner of Education, John King Jr., finished his opening remarks for his public forum, a group of people held banners up in the air stating: “Our kids can hit your bar,” or “Common Core” at the Medgar Evers College auditorium in Brooklyn. King could sit back and relax, as each one of them voiced support for his agenda.

The forum, first King has held in New York City, was supposed to address concerns over how the new standards for school curricula, the Common Core, are to be put into practice.

Instead, it turned into endless proclamations of support for the Common Core. Although the standards are accepted across the board—from President Obama to teachers unions—many speakers expressed anger that “people are against Common Core.”

“I guess I’m a little confused,” said Claudette Agard, speaker no. 36. “I didn’t think the conversation was about whether we support Common Core or not. I thought it was going around what our concerns are or any suggestions we have.”

More proclamations of support for Common Core followed.

“I think it was rigged,” said Tracy Lynne after the event, pointing out most speakers had the same message and were cheered on by a group with uniform banners.

Lynne, elementary school teacher and parent, arrived an hour early, just so she could sign up for the opportunity to speak. But all 45 spots were already filled.

After the event was over, many parents and teachers in the audience expressed that the issues they came with were not really discussed.