DOE Commissioner Announced Monday Future Meetings Would Be Canceled

SHIRLEY, N.Y., (CBSNewYork/AP) – A series of public forums on New York State’s controversial Common Core curriculum have been rescheduled two days after the state education commissioner canceled them.

Commissioner John King, Jr. canceled the meetings following what he called “disruptions caused by the special interests” during the first meeting in Poughkeepsie.

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But as WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs reported, the meetings are back on.

“What we won’t do is have meetings where people are screaming and yelling epithets. That’s just not an appropriate way to have dialogue,” King told Xirinachs. “What we won’t do is allow meetings to be disrupted and turned into an opportunity to yell and scream and yell epithets. That’s not productive.”

A statement from King provided by the Education Department on Monday said the commissioner was looking forward to answering parents’ questions. But after the Oct. 10 PTA-sponsored forum, he said it was clear that special interests are determined to manipulate the meetings.

Additional forums had been scheduled for this week in Garden City and Clifton Park and later this month in Williamsville and New Hartford.

The learning standards are intended to better prepare students for college and careers. Critics say New York was too quick to align standardized tests to the standards, resulting in a low passing rate.

Many opponents believe Common Core is hurting low performing schools and imperils programs for children with disabilities as well as gifted and talented kids. Vocal opponents want a three-year moratorium on the curriculum, Xirinachs reported.

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King said he will not accept calls for a three-year moratorium on Common Core, but is open to adjustments.

“Any time you have a significant change effort, you’re always going to have frustrations along the way,” King said. “I have every confidence in the work on the Common Core. Will there be bumps and challenges along the way? Absolutely, there always are in change efforts.”

Commissioner King did attend an invitation-only forum in Oyster Bay on Tuesday and got an earful from parents, Xirinachs reported.

State Senator Jack Martins (R-Mineola) had demanded King reschedule the canceled gatherings or immediately resign.

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