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      State Education Chief won't back down in face of calls for resignation

      Greg McCrea, Westhill District Education Association

      It appears State Education Commissioner John King will not back down in the face of calls for his resignation.

      Tuesday afternoon, the State Education Department issued a statement to answer critics of the embattled Commissioner. "The Commissioner recognizes that change can be threatening to some, but he and the Board of Regents will continue to push for reforms the Board has adopted. Our students need better schools, the Commissioner will not back down from that goal. Too many students are not building the knowlege and skills they need to be successful adults. The statement added: "It's time to be constructive and work together."

      The Westhill teachers union became the first in Central New York to formally call for State Education Commissioner John King to resign. The union says,"Parents and educators are losing faith in the New York State Education Department's policies and administration. Parents across New York State are justifiably worried about an increase in mandated standardized testing, the haphazard implementation of the Common Core Standards and the prospect of their children's confidential data being shared and compromised."

      Late last week,King reversed course and decided he would hold public meetings with parents and teachers after all. He was shouted down during a recent meeting in Poughkeepsie and later told reporters "special interests" seemed determined to hijack the forums.

      Gregory McCrea of the Westhill District Education Association which represents teachers told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon, "We feel the Commissioner has demonstrated really inadequate leadership skills in the last few months in the way they've haphazardly roilled out the common core reforms, in the way they've put an over-reliance on standardized testing and the way the commissioner has been unable to communicate with parents."