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Around Saratoga

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State cancels town hall forum at Shen

State Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. canceled an upcoming visit to the Shenendehowa Central School District just as a video of him being skewered by parents and educators over the state’s Common Core standards went viral.

Following a town hall meeting Thursday in Poughkeepsie, where King faced a hostile audience, the state Education Department announced it was suspending the remaining four meetings, which were sponsored by the New York State PTA. The sessions were designed to answer questions about the recently implemented and controversial Common Core standards.

Based on a video from Thursday’s event, a capacity crowd in a high school auditorium repeatedly shouted at and booed King during the public comment period. A handful of parents and teachers spoke during the public comment period and received loud ovations.

The video is available below.

King said he was looking forward to talking with parents around the state about the common core and other reforms. " Unfortunately, the forums sponsored by the New York State PTA have been co-opted by special interests whose stated goal is to "dominate" the questions and manipulate the forum," he said.

"The disruptions caused by the special interests have deprived parents of the opportunity to listen, ask questions and offer comments," King said. "Essentially, dialogue has been denied."

"In light of the clear intention of these special interest groups to continue to manipulate the forum, the PTA-sponsored events scheduled have been suspended. My office will continue to work with PTA to find the appropriate opportunities to engage in a real, productive dialogue with parents about our students and their education," he added.

The Shenendehowa Central School District has no plans to host its own event Wednesday.

A full story will be in the Sunday issue of the Daily Gazette

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