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Terminate the employment of State Education Commissioner, John King

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John King has served as New York State Commissioner of Education since 2011. During his tenure, the quality of education in NY has continued to decline; particularly in poor and rural districts.1 The Commissioner’s solutions rely upon blindly accepting NCLB, RTTT and Common Core policies and implementing more high-stakes, standardized testing for evaluation of students and teachers,2 implementation of an untested national curriculum,3 undemocratic corporate management strategies for operating schools,4 more privatization of schools5 and insistence that poverty-related conditions are not an excuse for low student achievement.6
Furthermore, Commissioner King:
· Refuses to lend credibility to staff and community-voiced concerns that much of Common Core curriculum and testing is developmentally inappropriate for students, and that NYS teachers received no significant training for the implementation of Common Core,7
· Refuses to allow meaningful dialogue about Common Core tests by imposing a “gag order” on teachers and administrators, preventing them from discussing test questions among themselves or with students,8
· Supports policy to allow private corporate vendors to have access to personal student data, without parental consent, for the purpose of marketing educational services,9 and
· Remains silent on the stress-related suffering by many students taking recent Common Core tests,10
· Promotes the reduction of the reading of fiction in favor of an increase in informational texts (50% informational texts in elementary school, and 70% for 12th grade readings by 2014)11 with the generally predicted impact of a further reduction in the joy of reading and learning for all students especially those with learning challenges,12
· Continues to advocate more high-stakes, standardized testing, despite research concluding that it is ineffective for motivating students and increasing their learning,13 and
· Continues to ignore positive research results for the use of performance-based assessment, such as portfolios, performances, presentations and exhibitions, by more NYS schools,14
· Advocates for more closings and privatization of low-performing schools,15 despite research indicating that charter schools are generally less effective than public schools,16 and promote more racial and class-based segregation,17 and create negative impact on community morale, motivation and development,18
· Advocates the use of poorly designed, ineffective corporate strategies, such as APPR, which de-professionalize teaching,19
We, the undersigned, strongly believe that New York State’s education reform agenda is fundamentally flawed and must be re-directed in a humanistic, research-based manner; directly counter to the direction Commissioner King has taken. New York State children, parents and teachers need an education commissioner who passionately supports and actively works for:
· De-concentrating the impact of poverty in classrooms and schools,
· Institutionalizing performance-based assessments,
· Ending the obsessive use of high-stakes, standardized testing,
· Developing creative, alternative curriculum, assessments and schools,
· Assisting poverty-stricken, low-performing schools through collaboration with teachers, parents community members and students, rather than through closures and privatization,
· Ending corporate reform,
· Using school practitioners and constructivist-oriented consultants for developing and implementing curriculum & assessments,
· Implementing a moratorium on the Common Core Curriculum,
· Transforming the NYSED to serve as helpful consultants to schools and school districts, rather than enforcers of top-down policies that are disrespectful to teachers and harmful to students.

Therefore, we, the undersigned respectfully urge the NYS Board of Regents to terminate the employment of John King as NYS Education Commissioner, and immediately search for, and hire a candidate who strongly reflects the characteristics described above.

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