Monday, October 14, 2013

Parents Continue to React to Cancellation of Upcoming Town Hall Meetings

From The Poughkeepsie Journal, October 14th, 2013
Parents are upset by an announcement that the state education commissioner’s office suspended four upcoming town hall meetings on the newly-implemented Common Core standards following a meeting last week at Spackenkill High School, according to the New York State PTA.
A loud and often critical crowd filled the Spackenkill auditorium Thursday for a meeting with Education Commissioner John King. The crowd challenged him and offered sometimes angry comments on the new learning standards, which were developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers and adopted by many states, according to Journal archives.
“While our goal was to provide an opportunity to learn and share, based on review of the initial October 10 meeting, the Commissioner concluded the outcome was not constructive for those taking the time to attend,” the PTA, a parent, teacher and student advocacy group, posted on its Facebook page Friday. The town hall meetings had been scheduled to take place this month across the state, it said. The announcement also was made on the group’s website,
“I believe that Commissioner King is running away. He doesn’t want to be challenged by the parents or anybody else,” said Lisa DiStefano, 38, a mother of three from Pleasant Valley, who attended the meeting Thursday.
DiStefano said if parents no longer have a say in their children’s education, that the state Education Department is “acting as an authoritarian, telling us we don’t want to listen because you no longer have any rights.”
Anna Shah, 41, a parent in the Spackenkill district, said the PTA’s flier for the event advertised it as an opportunity to gather information, ask questions and share concerns with King and other education department representatives.
“Those of us who were at the meeting saw firsthand that Dr. King must have missed the memo,” she said via email. “The meeting ended abruptly after five speakers presented, leaving at least 75 who were denied the chance to speak.”
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