A pair of minority caucus chairs in the state Legislature are standing behind state Education Commissioner John King at a time when his popularity is at a low point.
Assemblyman Karim Camara and state Sen. Adriano Espaillat released a joint statement Friday in support of King, saying that they want to work with him on the Common Core standards, the inequality gap and other education issues.
“While this has been an emotional debate with marked differences in public policy, there is no doubt that Commissioner King remains a public servant devoted to improving the education and welfare of New York’s kids,” the joint statement reads. “We will continue to work towards closing the achievement gap and other urgent issues with Commissioner King and other stakeholders.”
Camara chairs the state Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus, and Espaillat chairs the state Senate Puerto Rican and Latino Caucus. The statement was released only by the two lawmakers, however, and does not necessarily reflect the views of either group.
“Improving our public education system and ensuring black and Latino communities are not left behind isn’t supposed to be easy; Common Core has been no exception,” the lawmakers said. “The effective implementation of this curriculum is made harder by the persistent inequitable distribution of resources to high needs districts, and we must continue to push for fairer education formulas. It is critical we ensure that teachers have the time and resources they need to transition to these new standards.”
There has been little public support of King in recent months by either lawmakers or the public.
Almost a month ago, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during an interview with Susan Arbetter on The Capitol Pressroom that he believed King had done a good job, although there were “real questions” to deal with this legislative session. When pressed if King had Cuomo’s 100 percent backing, the governor replied that he did not think anyone, not even some family members, have his 100 percent support.
Education leaders have been harsher. NYSUT, the statewide teachers union, called for King’s ouster with a no-confidence vote last month.
Support for Common Core, an issue that has tarnished King’s public image, has been shaky. The public has seemingly largely been against the new standards and related testing, while others have said they agree with the standards but would like to delay the implementation of the standards and the high-stakes testing that go along with it.
Earlier this week, the Board of Regents voted to delay for five years Common Core graduation requirements.