Who Does John King Report To?

A recent article in the Times Union reported that New York Commissioner of Education John King is working to mobilize “business leaders” to counter the growing public opposition to the Common Core initiative.

Representatives of businesses in New York are to use this petition to show their support not only for the Common Core, but also for a wide range of corporate school reforms.

What is not reported in the Times Union article is that King is following the leadership of Arne Duncan and the Billionaire Boys Club.[1] According to the “State Ed Watch” blog at Education Week, in April during a forum at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Duncan called on business leaders to support the Common Core in the face of growing public opposition. He “did not want to see a repeat of when the business community went silent after the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act and states responded by ‘dummying down’ their standards. ‘I don’t understand why the business community is so passive when these kinds of things happen,’ he said,” according to the blog.[2]

And so, following the meeting at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, many State education officials fell into line: “In states such as Michigan and Tennessee, where common-core opponents feel momentum is with them, state education officials, the business community, and allied advocacy groups are ramping up efforts to define and buttress support for the standards — and to counter what they say is misinformation.”

One outcome of this effort is the now notorious ExxonMobile website and series of television commercials in support of the “standards”.

All this raises a simple question: who does Commissioner King report to? Maybe I’m not career and college ready, but my understanding was that the Commissioner of Education reported to the Board of Regents, who, I am under the impression, represent the People of New York State. I don’t recall that he is to report to Duncan, or private foundations.

In fact, the Regents and their administrative staff are duty bound to represent the will of the people of New York State. The growing public outcry against the Core agenda should cause the Regents to at least reconsider education policy in New York State, not unleash a propaganda campaign against parents who question common core tests.

Yet, King’s recent efforts reveal that public opinion is treated as an object for his forces to manipulate, that public opinion is not a source for guiding government action. Opposing all this is a stand for public education and democratic governance.


  1. As just one example, see page 23 of this annual report from the Broad Foundation, revealing the infiltration of Broad into the U.S. Department of Education. Broad boasts that it “loaned executives” to the USDOE to “assist in the implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as it relates to distribution of education funds” — i.e., Race to the Top.
  2. Note the event was titled “Upgrade America”, and it stressed “improving the quality of the labor force through education”. It is repulsive to render young people as machines or software in need of “upgrading”. Also see this.

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