Tuesday, March 15, 2016

More information contact:
Marla Kilfoyle, Executive Director BATs
Melissa Tomlinson, Asst. Executive Director BATs

John King’s Nomination: A Blow to Public Education in America

The Badass Teachers Association, a national grassroots education organization of over 56,000 members, stand firmly in declaring that John King’s nomination to Secretary of Education is one of the most detrimental decisions that our federal lawmakers have made in the course of legislative history.

John King’s record as an educational leader in New York was one of chaos, alienation of parents, and rife with decisions that were bad for children and public education. In 2014 the New York State United Teachers’ (NYSUT) board resolution declared a "no confidence" in King and his leadership. This vote was supported strongly at the NYSUT Representative Assembly. Parents, educators, and communities across New York State raised their concerns regarding Commissioner King's lack of responsiveness and transparency. Republican and Democratic legislators alike raised serious concerns regarding Commissioner King's leadership. Parents and educators from all corners of the Empire State have lost faith and trust in the New York State Education Department and Commissioner King, which led to over 240,000 parents to refuse testing.

BAT Board of Director member and retired New York Teacher Terry Kalb states, “John King ignored the pleas of NY parents and teachers to change course on horribly conceived, abusive testing and curricula. His own children in private schools were untouched by the system he imposed on our children. His ignorance and incompetence created bipartisan fury resulting in over 240,000 parents refusing to allow their children to participate in flawed, punitive testing. His Cabinet appointment is a travesty.”

“The Senate HELP Committee's vote to move the nomination of John King as Education Secretary on to the full Senate is bipartisanship at its worst. It is beyond irresponsible to take a candidate with a proven record of failure in New York and promote him to oversee schools across the country. No one should block the President's nominees for political reasons, but in this case there is a mountain of just cause. King was terrible in New York. He will be terrible for the nation. Once again we see lawmakers in both parties either have no idea what is best for our schools or else they just don't care”, Steven Singer, Pennsylvania BAT and Director of BAT Research and Blogging, points out. 

NJ BAT and BAT Asst. Executive Director Melissa Tomlinson notes, “John King has already proven himself to be a person that does not deem the inclusive voices of all of the students, parents, or teachers as important when creating educational policy. To approve the appointment of King, once called upon to resign from the Commissioner of Education position in New York, would be a grievous and negligent decision from the legislators that were hired to represent our voice.”

NEA BAT Caucus Chairperson and Washington State BAT Becca Ritchie wondered, "How can someone who lost the faith of the parents, teachers, students and community in New York be put in charge of education for our whole country?"
Finally, CA BAT and Co-Director of BATs Action Team Tina Andres, "John King has proven time and time again that he does not listen to teachers or parents. He does not have the experience as a public school teacher that is needed as a qualification for this job."

John King consistently showed a lack of interest in listening to parents and educators in New York State. We anticipate that not much will change as he takes control of the USDOE. What we know for sure is that the policies he initiated in New York State will become national education policy, and this will be detrimental to our children and our public education system.


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