John King

Ryan Delaney / WRVO/file photo

The state is losing its education commissioner, as John King takes a job with the Obama administration. King was in charge of school policies during a tumultuous time, and he admits there are things he could have done better.

King is leaving after five and a half years to become assistant U.S. education secretary under Arne Duncan. In an interview with public radio and TV, King says he hopes his legacy in New York will be his intense focus on getting the Common Core learning standards push started in the state.

governorandrewcuomo / via Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has written a letter to state education officials, saying he wants answers on why 99 percent of teachers scored highly on the most recent evaluations, while other data shows two-thirds of school children performing below acceptable levels in math and English.

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New York’s school children made incremental progress in math scores, but no gains in English tests, during the second year of Common Core-related exams. Education officials say overall, only around one-third of students actually passed the tests.

In math tests administered to third through eighth graders, just 35.8 percent statewide were considered to meet or exceed the new Common Core standards.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO/file photo

The president of the state’s teachers’ union says members are not yet ready to rescind a vote of no confidence in state Education Commissioner John King, despite improved relations in recent months.

New York State United Teachers President Karen Magee was elected in April amid deep dissatisfaction over education policy in New York.  Magee ousted a three-term incumbent, and teachers held a symbolic vote of no confidence in King, over what critics call a botched roll out of the new Common Core learning standards.

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State lawmakers say it’s likely the state budget will include a moratorium on the effects of school exams administered in connection with the controversial Common Core learning standards.

The state Assembly already passed a bill to delay the effects of the new Common Core tests on students and teachers, after widespread complaints that schools and the state education department were not adequately prepared to make the needed curriculum changes.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO file photo

The Common Core Learning Standards in New York state have caused a great deal of confusion and controversy. But where did Common Core come from and why was it implemented?

Ryan Delaney / WRVO/file photo

The state’s education commissioner testified at a legislative budget hearing, where he once again heard complaints from concerned lawmakers regarding the fast track adoption of the new national Common Core standards.

Lawmakers, calling the roll out of Common Core a nightmare and a mistake, grilled state Education Commissioner John King and asked for more time to adopt the new federal standards.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO/file photo

There’s continued dissatisfaction over the state’s implementation of the new Common Core standards, which parents, students and teachers have complained has led to too much testing. But there’s disagreement in the state legislature over how to fix it.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

In 2013, public education took center stage in New York state. A new, more rigorous curriculum was put in place in public schools in 2012 and the impacts of that exploded in classrooms across the state this past year.

The New York Times editorial board called the Common Core a once in a generation opportunity; U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says the new curriculum may prove to be "the single greatest thing to happen to public education in America since Brown v. Board of Education."

So why all the controversy? To find out, we have to go back a couple years.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Almost three dozen speakers fired questions at state Education Commissioner John King and other state officials in Fayetteville Tuesday, during the latest central New York forum on the new Common Core curriculum. Most of the complaints about the more rigorous curriculum have been heard before, but the bigger question now is if anything can be changed.

The debate over common core ranges from timing...

"Why were the assessments not phased in, in a more deliberate manner?"

To the impact of poverty on education...

James F Clay / Flickr

Is Gov. Andrew Cuomo backing away from his support for the new Common Core curriculum in schools? In recent days, Cuomo seems to have cooled from his initial endorsement of the rapid transition to the adoption of the national education standards.  

Everywhere Cuomo goes these days, he’s dogged by questions from reporters about what’s widely perceived as a rocky start up for New York state’s adoption of the new national Common Core standards for school children.

Cuomo was asked essentially the same question in recent days in stops from Buffalo to Lake Placid.

The state’s Education Commissioner John King faced a bi-partisan grilling by liberal and conservative  members of the Assembly at a hearing regarding growing concerns about student privacy.

As part of the conversion to the national Common Core standards, school districts in New York are required to place more student records, transcripts, and even behavioral information, like absences and suspensions, in online data bases. The data collection is in many cases run by a private vendor, not the local school or the state education department.  

New York state’s Teacher of the Year testified at a state Senate hearing that even she could not receive high marks in her teacher evaluation process, due to what she and others say is the dysfunctional implementation of the new Common Core standards.

Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

New York State Education Commissioner John King was in Syracuse last night at public broadcaster WCNY for a community forum on the Common Core education reform. King tried to address the controversy over the rollout of the program.  

About 160 people made up of mostly teachers and parents of students were fairly unanimous in their disapproval of the rollout of Common Core standards reform for kindergarten through 12th grade.

State Education Commissioner John King is holding a forum in Albany this evening on the new Common Core curriculum standards in New York's schools, a change that has been controversial in the state.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo offered some support to King and top state education officials, who have received much criticism for the implementation of Common Core.

Cuomo said he understands that change can be difficult, even when it’s the right choice.

Charles Lane / WRVO

New York Education Commissioner John King visited a Long Island elementary school earlier this week, where he met privately with educators to talk about the state’s new, more rigorous education standards called Common Core. 

The meeting came after King canceled several public events following a raucous PTA meeting in Poughkeepsie last week. At that meeting, parents lashed out at King using insults and curse words.

As the school year starts, many school districts across the state still need to grapple with the issue of a teacher evaluation system, especially if they want to continue to receive state aid. Only a small percentage of the state's schools have turned in an evaluation plan the state is happy with so far.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

New York state is now one of 19 states that has been granted a waiver that allows for more flexibility when it comes to the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law.

The change will let schools avoid a deadline requiring all students to be proficient in reading and math by 2014. 

The Federal Education Department approved the waivers for New York and eight other states earlier this week. Other states won waivers earlier this year.