State Education commissioner cancels Town Hall meetings

Posted at: 10/15/2013 1:33 PM
By: WNYT Staff

State Education Commissioner John King will not be at Shenendehowa schools tomorrow to talk with parents about the new common core curriculum and King told us this morning, the reason for canceling the meeting is because of the way he's been treated at some recent meetings, including a meeting last week where King was heckled by parents.

State Education Commissioner John King calls them 'special interest' groups. Parents he says who planned ahead of time to disrupt town hall meetings on the new common core standards.

Meetings like this one at a school in Poughkeepsie last week.

“Look, look, hold on hold on. We can't have a conversation this way, we really can't” says King.

Even a parent in the crowd tried to step in.

“The opportunity is here to listen, to learn, to ask, to heckle is not why we are here.”

This morning, before what King said was a routine visit to school two in Troy - he talked about these special interest groups.

"It's clear that there were some organizations that sent out email blasts encouraging their membership to dominate the microphone and take over the meeting” says King.

Who are these organizations?  King would not discuss it.

“If you google you'll find plenty of them” says King.

But he says he knows these same groups were working to disrupt a planned meeting at Shenendehowa tomorrow, so that meeting is now canceled.

“We know that some of these same groups were sending out emails again encouraging people again to dominate the microphone,” says King.

When asked if canceling meetings makes it look like he's running scared? King said no.

“I probably visited more schools as commissioner than any of my predecessors,” says King.

Commissioner King says more meetings will take place, he's working on picking new venues and dates.