Late last week President Obama announced that he is nominating John King to officially take over as Education Secretary (he is currently Interim Secretary). While AFT President Randi Weingarten has taken some heat for seeming to downplay the harm that King did to New York and praising his efforts at NYSED, it was encouraging to see NYSUT President Karen Magee being unequivocal, saying the appointment is “extremely troubling and sends the wrong signal to educators and parents nationwide.”
King still needs to be confirmed by the Senate, so this might be a good time to contact Senators Schumer and Gillibrand to let them know that we are not okay with this.
Click here to use the form letter set up by the BATs (TAKES 1 minute!)
As a side note, you may have seen a story in USA Today stating that John King “apologized to the nation’s teachers” for attacking and blaming them “for the challenges our nation faces.” Two quick points: First, the timing of his remarks (coming shortly before the announcement of his nomination) makes it pretty clear this was just pro-active damage control. Second, while King did say “All of us – at the local, state and federal level, the Education Department included – have to take responsibility for the climate that exists,” USA Today is flat out wrong. At no point in his speech did he utter the words “sorry,” “apology,” “regret,” or anything even close. He admits that he and others have done harm to the teaching profession, but he is NOT apologizing for it.
To recap: by his own admission, he screwed up royally, he doesn’t have to apologize, and not only are there no negative consequences, he is actually being rewarded for his failure. So, please,