State education officials postpone Monday's LI forum

Teachers in Long Island classrooms, such as this

Teachers in Long Island classrooms, such as this one in a May 1, 2013 photo, are evaluated by a system using student test scores, classroom observations and factors such as contacts with parents. Photo Credit: Heather Walsh

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State Education Department officials have postponed a community forum slated for Monday -- the last of four such events scheduled on Long Island -- and say a new date will be set after Jan. 1.

The forum, at which Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. was expected to appear to hear parents' and educators' concerns and field questions, was to be held in Nassau County. A specific location and hours never were set.

Scheduling conflicts caused the postponement, Education Department officials said Thursday.

The forum was part of a series of about a dozen meetings at which King has appeared, which have been held across the state since late October. Five more meetings are scheduled in New York City beginning next week, according to the Education Department's website. Locations and times are set in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan, but dates and other details are not yet shown for Queens or Staten Island.

On the Island, hundreds of parents and educators packed each of the three earlier meetings -- held Nov. 12 at Ward Melville High School in East Setauket, Nov. 13 at Mineola High School in Garden City Park and Nov. 26 at Eastport-South Manor Junior-Senior High School in Manorville.

At all the forums, district administrators, parents and teachers voiced anger and complaints about changes spearheaded by the state, including the Common Core academic standards and testing associated with them, and the new evaluation system for principals and teachers.

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Monday's forum was to be the second opportunity for those in Nassau County districts to air their concerns, and was to be held within the district of state Sen. Charles Fuschillo (R-Merrick).

Fuschillo's office said Thursday that a location never was finalized, and it is working with the Education Department to reschedule.

Parent Jeanette Deutermann of North Bellmore, an organizer of a grassroots movement for students to opt out of state testing, said she was disappointed to learn the forum was postponed. "We are willing to keep going and keep showing up and try to educate people through the media," Deutermann said, adding that "we can almost discount them [state education officials] because they are clearly discounting us."

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