Board of Regents Won't Force King To Resign

4:38 PM, Oct 16, 2013   |    comments
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Buffalo, NY -- Tuesday, a group of concerned parents and community members called for the resignation of State Education Commissioner John King.

They are upset about the new common core standards, and they are upset with him for cancelling four upcoming meetings to talk about those standards.

King cancelled the meetings after audience members became disruptive at the first scheduled forum last week downstate.

Tuesday night, King told us he isn't backing down from his position of implementing the common core. King also says the call for his resignation is not unexpected.

"Opponents of education reform have been critical of me and the department in the past, so that's not surprising," he said during a phone interview.

"We have been trying to get through the Commissioner King for months and months and months through emails, phone calls and we've had no success," says parent Eric Mihelbergel.

Mihelbergel is part of New York State Allies for Public Education. He helped form the group in August.
It is made up of 43 advocacy groups, and according to Mihelbergel, has 20,000 members.

As a parent, he got upset when King cancelled the rest of the meetings, including the one scheduled for Williamsville.

Now, Mihelbergel wants King to resign.

"Commissioner King did not display good leadership. He did not display good leadership at all. He was very rude to parents. He would not listen to them and so my immediate action was anger. And then, of course, we have to calm down and become more rational if we want to make progress," he says.

Robert Bennett is on the Board of Regents, which is responsible for appointing King.

"Why they would ask for this honorable man's resignation is insulting," says Bennett.

Bennett and King have their own ideas about what happened at the meeting in Poughkeepsie.

"Certainly, there were special interest groups that organized to disrupt the meeting, sent out emails, about not just that meeting, but the whole set of meetings, sent out emails setting a goal of dominating the microphone," explained King.

"As far as special interest groups in the political sense of the term, I don't see how that conclusion could be drawn from what happened in Poughkeepsie," says Mihelbergel.

So will the Board of Regents force King, who makes more than $212,000 a year, to resign?

"That's silly and it's stupid. We're not going to let that happen. He's an extraordinary educational leader, in demand all over the United States and globally. His intentions are honorable," says Bennett.

Several state legislators are now coming forward asking King to reschedule the meetings, but he says he is not going to reschedule them. Instead, he is looking to fix the format so it is more constructive.

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