Common Core Proponent John B. King, Jr. Voted New US Education Secretary
It’s official, a 49–40 U.S. senate vote cemented John King, Jr. as the new U.S. Secretary of Education. He will hold office as a federal cabinet representative for the national education system for ten months until Obama’s term has ended.
King has served as acting deputy secretary since Arne Duncan resigned in December, ending the longest run in U.S. history for the position.
King has come under controversy as the most recent New York Education Commissioner, specifically for actions and views on heightening the importance of New York standardized test results and being a vocal proponent of Common Core during its New York run.
Educators, parents, and students alike voiced concerns with the Common Core. One concern was that Common Core was implemented too quickly for schools to adapt before a state field test was attempted. Another is that few within the state had a say in the system’s design. These were just two of many other criticisms given throughout King’s 2013 forum tour across the state.
In August, 2013 the city released the first test results for 3rd-8th graders since the standards were implemented. Results showed generally drastic testing proficiency drops across subjects with only slight improvements in 2014. This has led to an increase of parents opting their children out of Common Core testing in the state. In 2015, 20 percent of eligible New York students opted out of testing, a rise from about 5 percent in 2014.
His position came to a end when the New York Teachers Union asked for his recognition in 2014, which led to an advisory position under Duncan in December, 2014.
His 2016 goals letter outlines some points of focus for the upcoming year, most notably, the racial and economic gaps in quality education opportunity and declining college attainment levels.
Nate Leese is an Emerson College senior journalism student focusing on long term photography projects and visual media. Growing up a third culture kid he enjoys learning about relationships between cultures during times of change.