John King had no intentions of leaving NY. While he deserves the credit for creating some of the worst education reforms in NY history, he should also be applauded for attempting to slow Cuomo’s teacher evaluation plan.
As John King was leaving his office in NY, Governor Cuomo sent him a letter. The letter was meant to serve as a slap on the wrist and called King’s work in NY “unacceptable.” John was crowned King Botched Implementer by Cuomo and was sent on his merry way. During his farewell, King took credit for the standards and the curriculum in NY, but he stopped short of taking credit for the teacher evaluation system. He correctly stated, that the evaluation issue belongs to Cuomo and Cuomo alone. It was Cuomo’s evaluation plan that drove not only King, but John’s merry men, out of Dodge. At first, we cheered King’s departure. Now it has become clear why he left and the future isn’t as bright as we had hoped.
King never formally responded to Cuomo’s letter. Instead, BOR Chancellor Tisch recruited an interim Commissioner to pen a 20 page response agreeing with much of what the Governor had to say.
Working in tandem- AFT, NYSUT, Board of Regents, and Cuomo installed a new Commissioner in NY. They needed a Commissioner that wouldn’t waiver from Cuomo’s evaluation plan. Commissioner Elia has been battled tested. Her evaluation plan took her former district into the brinks of financial despair and she didn’t even blink an eye. She was the perfect fit. At least King had the sense to leave, the rest of the folks are working together. This is the reason NYSUT never fought this plan until it was cemented into law. Instead of fighting a draconian evaluation system that poses a threat to every teacher and student in NY, NYSUT’s President Magee was leading the troops on a wild goose chase demanding equitable funding. Yes, we received more money and ironically it will not even cover the cost of the new evaluation system.
The message from Cuomo and his Commission (comprised of AFT and NYSUT leaders) will be a simple one- we must move forward. A few chairs on the Titanic will shift, but we are still headed for an iceberg.