Video and Transcription of John King’s Remarks at Arne Duncan’s Resignation
Below is a Youtube video of the October 02, 2015, White House press conference regarding US Secretary Arne Duncan’s resignation and former New York State Chancellor, John King’s becoming interim secretary for the remaining year that Obama is in the White House.
In my October 03, 2015, post, I transcribed Obama’s and Duncan’s remarks.
Below are John King’s remarks, which I transcribed using the above Youtube video. (King begins speaking at 55:30.)
And now, I offer my readers yet another dose of corporate reform disconnect: John King.
Thank you, Arne, for your very kind words. Thank you, Mr. President, for the opportunity to serve and for your faith that you have placed in me and the team that we have at the Department.
I’m deeply honored by the chance to serve and also deeply humbled by, uh, following in Arne’s footsteps. Arne is an extraordinary leader who I have watched demonstrate tremendous courage in fighting for kids and fighting for what’s best for kids, um, but also as being willing to listen, to listen to folks and to make adjustments, and to make sure everything we do every day is towards the goal of greater equity. Uh, Mr. President, you and Arne and our team at the Department have laid out an ambitious agenda, from strengthening early childhood education and expanding access to early childhood, to raising standards for teaching and learning in K through 12, to ensuring that more Americans have access to high-quality, higher education, uh, to ensuring that we support our teachers, and that we invest in our teachers and provide the best preparation and support and leadership opportunities for them. It’s an incredible agenda, and I’m proud to be able to carry it forward with the amazing team that we have at the Department.
Earlier this week, Arne gave a speech to the National Pres Club, and in that speech, Arne said education can be the difference “between life and death.” And I know that’s true because it was for me. I grew up in Brooklyn. Um, I lost my mom when I was eight and my dad when I was twelve. Uh, my dad was very sick before he passed. I moved around between family members and schools. But teachers– New York City Public School teachers– are the reason that I am alive. They are the reason that I became a teacher. They are the reason I’m standing here today. Those teachers created amazing educational experiences, but also gave me hope– hope about what is possible– what could be possible for me in life.
I know schools can’t do it alone. There’s work we have to do on an economic development, and housing, and health care, but I know my parents, who spent their lives as the New York City Public School educators believed that school was at the heart of our promise of equality, of opportunity for all Americans. That’s what they believe; that’s what the President believes; that’s what Arne believes, and that’s what I feel very privileged to be able to work on with this amazing team that we have at the Department.
Every child in the United States, every college student, every disconnected youth, every working parent who just wants a few more credits in order to improve their salary and position at their job, everyone deserves the kind of opportunity that I had to have a great education. Every child deserves the opportunity that my beautiful daughters, Samina and Maria, have, to have a great education– the kind of education their grandparents worked to provide.
So grateful to my very supportive wife, Melissa. Uh, so grateful to the Secretary for the opportunity he gave me to join his team, and incredibly grateful to the President, uh, for the opportunity to work with a wonderful group of people at the Education Department to try to expand opportunity. Thank you.
Well. There you have it.
As was true of Obama and Duncan, King’s words contradict the punitive, test-score-obsessed, festering corporate-reform reality that is both the Obama education agenda and King’s warped legacy as a New York chancellor.
Notice also that like Obama and Duncan, King avoids the toxic term, Common Core.
King’s preferred approach to “reform” is aptly described in this November 2014 Lohud article as “one of rapid change and tone-deaf response”:
For many in the Lower Hudson Valley, a lasting image of outgoing Education Commissioner John King will be of him sitting impassively at Port Chester Middle School in late 2013. The school auditorium was packed with hundreds of parents, teachers and others. Speaker after speaker stood up to decry the rapid rollout of the Common Core standards and new state tests. King appeared to listen, but said little and gave no ground. Most importantly, he didn’t show a pinch of interest in connecting with parents, acknowledging their concerns or even making them feel as if they had been heard. …
To John King, anyone who questions or criticizes the state’s top-down education “reform” agenda is an outsider who is not committed to seeing kids learn.Parents and educators who find flaws in sweeping curriculum and teacher evaluation changes are portrayed as lazy, excuse-making haters.
King ought to fit right in in the Beltway.