The Education Legacy Obama Is Not Talking About

President Barack Obama signs S. 1177, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), during a bill a signing ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium, Dec. 10, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

President Barack Obama signs S. 1177, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), during a bill a signing ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium, Dec. 10, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

Valarie Strauss at The Washington Post before the weekend reported on a speech that President Barack Obama gave at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington, DC noting that the President did not really put a spotlight on his actual education legacy.

He did not mention by name the Common Core State Standards initiative, another big priority for the administration during Duncan’s seven-year tenure running the Education Department, during which he wielded more power than any previous education secretary while also attracting more opposition than his predecessors.

Adopting common standards was also on Race to the Top’s list of preferred reforms Duncan sought from applying states, and the administration spent some $360 million for two multi-state consortia to develop new Core-related standardized tests. Duncan himself promised that the new tests would be “an absolute game-changer” in public education.

It didn’t work out that way. The tests were nowhere as sophisticated as originally promoted. The rush to get them into schools led to computer troubles in some states, some of them severe. One of the tests, known as PARCC, was abandoned by most of the states that had agreed to use it, and the overall idea behind the standards and aligned testing — that test results would be comparable across states — has not been accomplished.

The Education Department’s ties to the Gates Foundation, which funded the creation and implementation of the Core, also sparked criticism that the administration was too close to wealthy philanthropists who were intent on driving their own personal vision of school reform.

He also isn’t talking about his feeding education reformer’s standardized testing obsession.

The administration’s obsession with standardized tests led to a rebellion by parents, students, teachers, principals and even superintendents. Many spoke out against testing policies — and many parents refused to allow their students to take exams mandated by states for federal accountability purposes. In New York, with the most active movement, 22 percent of students “opted out” of at least one test, and opt-outs were reported in numerous other states. It was only after the “opt out” movement began to grow that the administration conceded that kids were being tested too much.

The New York State commissioner of education who pushed the test-based teacher accountability system — which has been crashing and burning for years — was John King Jr., who left the job early after 3 1/2 years, essentially getting a public shove by Gov. Andrew Cuomo not only for the teacher evaluation fiasco but for a botched implementation of Common Core. The reason this is worth mentioning is that King — who has an inspirational personal story — is now Obama’s second education secretary.

Read the whole thing.

Nyah, nyah????

john-b-king-barack-obamaI’m not sure what to think about the New York Daily News editorial on Monday about former New York Education Commissioner John King’s appointment as Acting Secretary of Education once Arne Duncan steps down at the end of the year.

They write:

To all of you anti-Common-Core, anti-testing, anti-charter-school whiners, who are a-okay with the subpar education to which millions of American kids are still subjected in public schools on which we, as a nation, annually invest more than $600 billion:

President Obama just named the architect of New York’s Common Core revolution, former New York State Education Commissioner John King — a former charter school executive — as the new secretary of education.

Nyah, nyah.

I really hope that was satire because are we back in junior high school now?  If the New York Daily News meant to highlight President Obama’s insult to American taxpayers appointing John King as Acting Secretary of Education, spot on, but that is a big IF.

Since we, as a nation, do invest more than $600 billion into education we as taxpayers must continue to make our voices heard especially if it makes educrats uncomfortable. President Obama just insulted the American people through King’s appointment, and if the New York Daily News‘ editorial board is serious just did the same.

“Nyah, nyah” isn’t an argument.

NY Social Worker: Business Has Never Been Better Under Common Core

mary-calamiaTomorrow, November 26th, Dr. John King, the New York State Education Commissioner is holding a Community Forum at the Eastport-South Manor High School at Manorville, NY on Long Island from 6:00-8:00p.  Mary Calamia, a licensed clinical social worker in New York, requested the opportunity to present a statement on the record about the mental health ramifications of the Common Core on students that she sees in her office.

She was told that she could not make a public statement at that forum since she does not live in the Senate district where it is being held.

Below is the statement Ms. Calamia planned to read.

Statement for NYS Education Commissioner John King

My name is Mary Calamia and I am a licensed clinical social worker.  I want to thank you for bringing us the Common Core. Business has never been better.

If not for the Common Core, I would never have met the 8 year old who is so afraid of the Spring exams, she has to be medicated just to go to school.
Or the 4th grader who vomits every morning, certain that he is “the stupidest kid in the class.”

Or the lady who has to leave work early, her job in jeopardy, because her 7th grader becomes so hysterical over his homework, she fears for his safety.

Or the 6 year old boy who is scratching the skin off of his face, drawing blood every time he does his homework.

Or the 8 year old who picks his skin obsessively and has to go to school with band aids all over his face.

Or the honor student who carved the word “stupid” into her wrist with a razor blade after last year’s math assessment scores came out.

Without the Common Core, I would not be working 10 to 12 hours days without a break just to treat all of the young people streaming into my practice with anxiety, depression, self mutilation, panic attacks, insomnia, school refusal, and a host of other maladies.

I thank you for the emergency phone calls at all hours of the night and the countless interrupted meals, leisure activities, and family occasions when I have had to address a “homework meltdown” that could not be resolved without professional intervention.

How many more children will you send my way? How far do you plan to go with this disaster that you call “education” but more closely resembles child endangerment? How desperate are you to be right? What will it take for you to do the right thing?

Below is a video of Ms. Calamia testifying at an earlier forum on Common Core in Suffolk County in New York.

Stop Common Core in New York State Calls for John King’s Resignation

john-king(Port Chester, New York) STOP Common Core in New York State, a parent and teacher advocacy group, publicly condemns the New York State Education Commissioner John King for his decision to suspend four scheduled state PTA meetings on the Common Core State Learning Standards and is calling for his resignation based on his actions and remarks made after a public forum that took place Oct.10 at Spackenkill High School in Poughkeepsie.

The meeting, which was sponsored by the New York State PTA, was the first in a series of gatherings scheduled by the group to give parents and others the chance to gather information, ask questions and share concerns with King and other education department representatives on the newly implemented Common Core State Standards.  STOP Common Core in New York State has strongly condemned King’s recent statement that the event was hijacked by “special interests.” Glen Dalgleish and Yvonne Gasperino, founders of the group, said the auditorium was only filled with concerned parents and teachers who respectfully listened for over 90 minutes while King presented his case on Common Core.

"When it was the parents’ and teachers’ turn to speak, Commissioner King interrupted after each speaker, running down the clock so that fewer audience members would be able to speak," noted Dalgleish. "With only about 20 minutes to voice their concerns, the audience felt compelled to demand the commissioner to sit down, allow them to speak and listen."

Dalgleish believes that King’s failure to listen to their concerns as constructive feedback led to a more vocal reaction from the audience. "Instead of participating in a dialogue as he stated he wanted to, he monopolized the forum, and informed the audience "We will not go on until I speak…". The fact that he now calls those parents and teachers that he disrespected "special interests" just shows how much contempt he has for them. The only special interests we care about are our children. That is why we were there," added Dalgleish.

STOP Common Core in New York State has concerns about King’s statements and his reaction to the growing opposition throughout the state to Common Core. They are as follows:

  • Why are parents and teachers still being shut out of the implementation process and why are their concerns being dismissed out-of-hand with no two-way dialogue whatsoever?
  • How can King continue to ignore the groundswell of opposition to Common Core? If he can’t defend and support the Common Core mandate he ardently advocates, how does he expect New York State legislators to defend, support and fund the policy with this kind of behavior?
  • Just because King did not approve of the outcome of the first NYS PTA meeting, he should not have the power to suspend other scheduled meetings and silence the opposition to Common Core.
  • Parents and teachers who are passionate about their children should not be demonized. These are still OUR children and we will continue to defend their innocence and fight for their future. Our children are NOT a commodity or “human capital” that can be bought and sold on the open market to the highest bidder. Those who make money off of Common Core do not have the ownership of the minds of our children. The parents and teachers of New York State will be heard; you can count on that.

"We, as a group, believe that King has clearly demonstrated over the past few days that he is unwilling to listen to any concerns that are raised about Common Core," noted Dalgleish. "He has also shown he is unwilling to work with and engage with New York State parents and teachers on the Common Core program. We therefore demand that the commissioner be immediately removed from office and replaced with somebody who is willing to listen and who can work with parents and teachers in this great state."