Monday, October 14, 2013

Commissioner King says Class Size Matters is a "special interest" manipulating parents

Over the weekend, NY State Education Commissioner John King cancelled all future PTA-sponsored forums about the Common Core, because he claimed that these meetings have been "co-opted by special interests" whose goal is to "dominate" these meetings, and that "parents don't deserve to be manipulated and dominated." His entire statement is quoted here.

Today, a spokesperson from the NY State Education Department identified to reporters these "special interests" as NYSUT (the state's teacher union) and Class Size Matters.  I explained yesterday why it was absurd to say parents are being "manipulated" by  NYSUT, but I was absolutely flabbergasted to hear that King is claiming this about Class Size Matters as well.

I assume that he is referring to our efforts to inform parents around the state that their children's most personal information is being shared with inBloom Inc. and other vendors without their consent, and our advocacy to try to stop this from happening.  One question read from a card at the PTA forum in Poughkeepsie meeting on Thursday referred to these plans (see this video at about 41 minutes in.).

Yet the idea that parents' concerns about this data-sharing plan results from their being "manipulated" is so absurd it is difficult to even comprehend.  So far six out of nine states have pulled out of inBloom or put their plans on hold because of protests from privacy experts and parents in Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Delaware, and Massachusetts; did Class Size Matters manipulate all of them?

In Jefferson County Colorado, the only district participating in that state, the Superintendent announced that parents will be allowed to opt out of their children's data from being shared with inBloom. Last spring, the NY State Assembly  passed two bills to prevent this unregulated personal student data sharing without consent, and most of the candidates for NYC Mayor announced they opposed this as well.  Were all these people being "manipulated"? 

Commissioner King's claim is not only insulting to parents; it reveals how out of touch he is.  He seems unable to comprehend how parents' desire to protect their children's privacy is rational and to have the right to decide with whom their children's most sensitive information, including their names, addresses, test scores, disabilities and disciplinary records, is being shared is completely justified. NY State Allies for Public Education has called for King's resignation.  See the video below.


la_teacher_guy said...

A little humor to lighten things…

What occurred backstage with John
King and his advisors after King fled
the stage:

Patrick J. Sullivan said...

In an earlier post it seemed Leonie didn't know exactly where Spackenkill High School was. If she can manipulate parents there without knowing where it is, then she must be very powerful indeed.

Leonie Haimson said...

True! I have very little knowledge of NYS geography; I do need to get around more!