Friday, September 15, 2017

John King's 'worries' about DeVos don't include "choice" or vouchers

Duncan & King
As N.Y.'s Education Commissioner, John King's top-down imposition of corporate-style reform policies, including Common Core testing mania, led to a revolt among parents and teachers.

As Arne Duncan's appointed successor to a short-lived stint as Pres. Obama's Ed Secretary, King continued Duncan's push for mass closings of public schools in black communities and replacing them with privately-run charters. In many ways, the Duncan/King failed Race to the Top program, set the table for Betsy DeVos' current school "choice" agenda which now threatens to decimate public schooling altogether.

As his reward for causing all this mayhem and division, King landed softly at the top of the Education Trust, which supposedly looks out for poor and minority children but instead has been a bulwark of destructive, top-down imposed testing madness going back to the now thoroughly-discredited No Child Left Behind law.

While King and Duncan have been critical of DeVos, they have steered clear of saying anything strongly critical about the bedrock of her "reform" strategy -- privatization, "choice" and vouchers.

In an interview with EdWeek's Alyson Klein, King reveals his and Ed Trust's affinity with Trump/DeVos on ed policy by omitting any criticism or even mention of their push for privatization and school vouchers. While King shares some of his legitimate "worries" about the DeVos administration's funding cuts to education and it's recent moves when it comes to civil rights enforcement, his concerns sound rather tepid.
"All of those things suggest that there's not a full commitment to civil rights protection," King said.
Not a full commitment? A duh statement if I ever heard one. Especially when you consider the lengths to which Trump/DeVos have already gone to turning the Office of Civil Rights into its opposite. 

And then there's the reality that King and Duncan's regimes also failed (by Duncan's own admission) on what Duncan called "forced integration", at times disparaging Obama's own Justice Department on civil rights enforcement.

But King's main concern isn't about the Trump regime's bent toward white supremacy. Rather it's that DeVos may not be tough enough on states and school districts when it comes to enforcing test-score accountability,

He tells Klein that he concerned that DeVos and even Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown aren't intervening severely enough in low-performing (high poverty) schools --"intervening" meaning labeling them as failures, closing them, and replacing them with charters.
"I am worried about the clarity for parents about school performance ... I'm very worried about the California dashboard," he said, referring to the state's proposed accountability model, which considers school performance on a host of factors, but doesn't come up with an overall rating. "I think it's very confusing."
While in previous interviews, King has called the voucher issue a "distraction", his list of current concerns expressed in the EdWeek interview include not even a mention of "choice" or school vouchers. This omission is most revealing. 

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