Full Speed Ahead For Common Core As Education Commissioner Steps Down


John King has been New York's education commissioner since 2011. He leaves for a post in the U.S. Department of Education at the end of the year.

New York’s Education Commissioner John King is leaving Albany to take a job at the U.S. Department of Education. King had a controversial tenure, overseeing the implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards and new teacher evaluations. But although King is leaving, the Regents say the policies he championed are here to stay.

During his three-and-a-half-year term, King stood up for New York’s Common Core Learning Standards and new teacher evaluations. He took intense criticism from parents, teachers and legislators who opposed both initiatives.

But Regent Jim Tallon says King was just carrying out decisions that the Board as a whole made.

“A lot of people with a lot of other issues in the education system found it convenient to blame Commissioner King,” he says.

Tallon also dismisses any speculation that King’s departure means New York is changing course on the Common Core.

“It’s not a change in direction at all,” Tallon says. “The Common Core State Standards are adopted as the standards we use in education in New York. That is not up for debate.”

The class of 2022 will be the first in New York to have Common Core-aligned tests as a graduation requirement. Tallon and the Regents are searching for a new education commissioner.