New York State's top education leader has been selected by federal officials for a new role. State Education Commissioner John King will be stepping down for a high level post in the U.S. Department of Education.
King has been named as Deputy Secretary of Education by the Obama Administration. King will be second in command as a senior advisor to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
King was appointed to lead the State's Education Department in May of 2011. He made the decisions in implemented the highly criticized Common Core Learning Standards in New York State.
"I'm very sad that I'm not going to be able to work with him, almost on a daily basis in New York, even in spite of the brutal, unfounded criticism he took last year with mistruths and misstatements," said Robert Bennett, State Board of Regents member from Buffalo and chancellor emeritus.
King will step down at the end of the year.
Bennett tells WBFO News this change should not effect the current work the State Education Department is conducting with the Buffalo Public School District and or other districts in the Buffalo region.
Bennett indicated the process for the proposed turnaround plans for failing city schools will be processed without delays. "We've got a good team in place," noted Bennett. When asked if anything would be in jeopardy during the interim, Bennett said "we won't allow it."
Bennett said Elizabeth Berlin, Executive Deputy Commissioner of the State Education Department will over King's responsibilities automatically.
The Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch will put together a search committee and use a search firm to find a permanent leader.
"I hope it is somebody from New York State. No names come to my mind immediately, but that is what we will be working on for the next 60-days," said Bennett.
New York State United Teachers released the following statement in response to Kings resignation:
“NYSUT has disagreed sharply and publicly with the commissioner on many issues. The disconnect between the commissioner’s vision and what parents, educators and students want for their public education system became so great, NYSUT voted ‘no confidence’ in Commissioner King last spring and called for his resignation. We hope he has learned from his stormy tenure in New York state and we look forward to working collaboratively and productively with the Regents to improve public education going forward.
“We call on the Regents, in appointing the next education commissioner, to first and foremost, select a passionate advocate for what children and public schools need. The next commissioner must be a heralded educator who respects parents, teachers and students. New York needs an education commissioner who listens carefully; is willing to learn from others and compromise; and who understands that true collaboration among stakeholders will make New York’s already strong public education system even stronger. Without that, all of our sincere efforts to narrow the achievement gap and ensure that all students are ready to contribute to our economy going forward will be in vain.”