New York State Education Commissioner John King has recently been under fire from critics for his role in helping the state adopt teacher evaluations and implement the Common Core curriculum. Last week, King was shouted down at a town hall meeting in Poughkeepsie.
In a New York Daily News editorial, the paper strongly defended King, calling him one of the best education commissioners the state had ever had. They argued that the reforms he had championed were necessary toward improving student outcomes and teacher quality in New York state's public schools:
King's only "crime" was to place New York at the vanguard of Common Core implementation. His courage in driving the critical reform, and tying it to teacher evaluations, is a chief reason why New York won $700 million in federal Race to the Top education funding.
Adoption of the Common Core standards required a forthright acknowledgement that the previously accepted benchmarks of success were severely deficient.
That's why scores on this year's reading and math standardized tests dropped precipitously - because students were asked to master tougher material that will be critical to their ultimate success in college or a career. That overdue reckoning has caused consternation among parents and teachers who'd rather stick their heads in the playground sand rather than discover what students really are and aren't learning.