New York State Education Commissioner Dr. John King will give parents, students and educators the opportunity to ask him questions and offer input on the implementation of the new Common Core standards, state assessments, teacher evaluations and student privacy guidelines during a forum at Eastport South Manor High School on Tuesday, November 26.
The forum runs from 6 to 8 p.m. and will take place in the Manorville school’s 1,000-seat auditorium. Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis, according to State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle’s office. There will also be an overflow room with enough seating for an additional 400 people, and the forum will be broadcast there via closed-circuit television. The event will also be streamed live on www.senatorlavalle.com for those who cannot attend.
“I hope that the audience and Dr. King are able to establish a dialogue so that he can hear some of the concerns,” said Eastport South Manor Superintendent of Schools Mark Nocero. “We’re excited that Senator LaValle is hosting it at our school.”
Mr. LaValle sent a letter to all school superintendents within his legislative district last week asking that they meet with parents, students and teachers to discuss and organize their comments on the various topics. He also requested that school officials send those comments or questions, along with the name of the person who would be speaking and his or her affiliation, to his office for review in order to eliminate duplicates, given the time constraints of next week’s forum. All questions and comments should be kept to two minutes or less.
Those are due to the senator’s office by Thursday, November 21. Officials from his office said all speakers would be chosen and notified ahead of time.
Mr. King has held a series of forums across the state in recent weeks, including one at Mineola High School in Nassau County on November 13 and another at the Ward Melville High School in East Setauket on November 12. He is expected to hold at least three more, including another in Nassau County, before December 9, according to the New York State Education Department.
At the previous forums, Mr. King has been booed by attendees and fielded a barrage of complaints, mostly about the swift implementation of the new Common Core curriculum that has resulted in a nearly 30-percent across-the-board drop in scores on the state assessment exams. Some critics of the program, who has included educators and parents alike, have gone as far as to accuse Mr. King and his office of setting up students for failure under the new curriculum.