Three state lawmakers on Tuesday called on Education Commissioner John King to reschedule a series of public forums on new state curriculum standards.
Assemblyman Sean M. Ryan, D-Buffalo, told King in a letter that canceling his appearance at a series of New York State PTA forums on the Common Core standards “only reinforces the concern over how the Common Core is being implemented.”
King was scheduled to attend four more forums, including one in Williamsville next week, but he canceled the appearances after encountering shouting and angry reactions during a question-and-answer period at the first event in Poughkeepsie.
“Hiding from accountability is not the answer,” Ryan wrote in a letter he publicly released. “Canceling these forums shows a complete lack of leadership, and I am disappointed that you chose to end the dialogue on a topic that is of great concern to many teachers and parents.”
State Sen. Timothy M. Kennedy, D-Buffalo, and Assemblyman John D. Ceretto, R-Lewiston, also called on King to reverse his decision.
“I believe it would be enormously beneficial for local parents to be able to discuss these issues with you in person,” Kennedy wrote.
King, in a statement released Saturday, said disruptions at the first forum “deprived parents of the opportunity to listen, ask questions and offer comments.” A spokesman for King has said the state commissioner would seek other ways to communicate with parents.
The decision to cancel the forums drew criticism from parents and teachers who felt King was cutting off dialogue. On Tuesday, a network of advocacy groups that oppose “excessive testing” called on parents to contact the governor’s office and other state leaders to urge them to seek King’s resignation. The network, New York State Allies for Education, has helped organize protest actions to oppose the way state assessments have been implemented.