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Letters: Ed. commish should hear parents

Dr. John B. King, Jr., State education commissioner,

Dr. John B. King, Jr., State education commissioner, speaks at an event at Hofstra University. (Feb. 2, 2012) Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan

State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr.'s decision to suspend the remaining PTA-sponsored meetings around the state is reprehensible ["NY education chief backs out of LI forum," News, Oct. 13].

He seems to want parents and educators to hear him, but he refuses to hear us. He dismisses us as "special interests." How dare he!

I am a parent. The only special interests I have are my children. Ask him about his special interests: data collector inBloom, the Gates Foundation, and test vendor Pearson Education.

Our children are hurting because of the Common Core initiative. If we don't advocate for them, who will?

The public perception is that the Education Department and state government just don't care. If King thinks that refusing to meet with us will make us go away, he is sadly mistaken. If anything, he just added fuel to the fire.

Teri Harling, Manor Park

It is with shame and disgust that I read this story. Commissioner John B. King Jr. has been the main player in the Education Department's rollout of the Common Core standards, without the thoughtful transition planning needed for such a major policy shift.

As if this were not toxic enough, the speed of this agenda has subjected tens of thousands of children to the rigid and psychometrically ill-advised procedure of sitting for exams for which they have not been adequately prepared. The impact of these take-no-prisoner political agendas has caused an unprecented plunge in the mental health status of children and adolescents across New York.

When the town hall meetings were announced, there was a sense of relief that parents and educators would have the chance to raise important issues with the commissioner. Perhaps someone would be listening.

When King canceled the rest of the meetings, claiming that he wished to avoid "the disruptions caused by the special interests," no words could describe the disappointment. This is a cowardly act that will silence none of us whose children the commissioner's policies will affect the most.

It is one thing to disagree with the minds and hearts of thousands of parents and teachers. It is another thing to deny them due process.

Our education system cannot be a model for children when its leaders run and hide.

Anthony Pantaleno, Lynbrook

Editor's note: The writer is a school psychologist.