For Immediate Release
Contact: Carol Burris
Executive Director, Network for Public Education Fund
Date: October 2, 2015
Network for Public Education’s response to Duncan’s resignation and the appointment of John King
The Network for Public Education assigned an “F” to the selection of John King as a replacement to Arne Duncan, who recently resigned as Secretary of Education.
Diane Ravitch, eminent education historian and President of the Network for Public Education, said, “The policies of the US Department of Education have inflicted immeasurable harm on American public education. The blind faith in standardized testing as the most meaningful measure of students, teachers, principals, and schools has distorted the true meaning of education and demoralized educators. Punitive policies have created teacher shortages across the nation, as well as a precipitous decline in the number of people preparing to become teachers. The Race to the Top preference for privately managed charter schools over public schools has encouraged privatization of a vitally important public responsibility.”
Regarding the appointment of King, The Executive Director of the Network for Public Education Fund and former New York State principal, Carol Burris, observed, “John King’s tenure in New York State was a disaster and he alienated teachers, parents, and principals. He was the first Commissioner of Education in New York to receive a vote of ‘no confidence’ by the New York State Teachers Union, and referred to parents as ‘a special interest group.’ Not only was his implementation of the Common Core standards rushed and chaotic, but the horrific state exams that were given during his tenure resulted in over 200,000 students opting out of the exam last spring. It is difficult to imagine a worse choice to run the US Department of Education.”
Leonie Haimson, NPE board member, and Executive Director of New York based Class Size Matters, added, “Duncan’s condescending attitude towards parents who opposed the Common Core by mischaracterizing them as ‘white suburban moms’ who realize ‘their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were’ will likely continue under King, who called parents who protested the state’s violation of their children’s privacy a ‘special interest.’ Under his leadership, New York was the worst state in the country on the issue of student privacy, and the only one in which it took an act of the Legislature to pull out of inBloom, a secretive data mining company funded by the Gates Foundation. His appointment makes it even more critical that Congress act with deliberate speed in reforming NCLB and strengthening student privacy protections.”
Concluded Diane Ravitch, “As a New Yorker who watched John King’s brief and controversial tenure as Commissioner, I expect that King will double down on Duncan’s failed policies. Next year, Americans must be sure to vote for a candidate with a new and positive vision for our public schools, dedicated to meeting the needs of children and respecting educators.”
The Network for Public Education is a national organization founded to protect, preserve, and strengthen our public school system, an essential institution in a democratic society.