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More criticism for Common Core forums after first is scheduled at 4 p.m.

News that state Education Commissioner John B. King Jr. had agreed to a new series of forums to discuss Common Core drew praise -- until parents saw the time the first forum was scheduled.

Some parents have questioned why King would schedule the Albany forum at 4 p.m., when many people are still at work.

King told reporters on Tuesday that state leaders have had discussions about extending the time of the Albany forum if needed to allow parents who aren't available until 5 or 6 p.m. to participate.

"The times will probably vary across the events depending on the schedule of the facility and the legislators, but the goal is to engage in constructive dialogue, to listen, to hear concerns," King said during a conference call to discuss teacher evaluation ratings on Tuesday.

King was criticized earlier this month when he cancelled a series of forums organized by the New York State PTA after encountering shouting and angry responses during a meeting in Poughkeepsie to discuss the new Common Core curriculum standards.

Many attendees appeared to become angry after King failed to leave enough time for a question-and-answer session at the end of the forum. The cancellation of the meetings prompted some groups -- including New York State Allies for Public Education -- to call on King to resign.

King said a change in the format for the new meetings -- which will include one in Amherst and one in Jamestown -- "will help ensure that there's space for constructive dialogue and for everyone to be heard."

"If you look across the country, every one of the 45 states and the District of Columbia who are engaged in this work are facing challenges as people grapple with how to change teaching practice, the changes in students' homework, all the things that are difficult about a change process," King said. "I think the conversations will reflect that change is difficult."

The state Department of Education expects to release the full schedule of forums later today, according to its communications office.

-- Denise Jewell Gee

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About School Zone

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee joined The Buffalo News in 2007 and currently covers education and suburban schools. She also writes a column for the City & Region section and previously covered government in Erie County and Niagara Falls. Gee graduated from Boston University with degrees in journalism and political science.

@denisejewellgee | djgee@buffnews.com


Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes joined The Buffalo News in 2013 and primarily covers the Buffalo Public Schools. She has written about education since 2003 at newspapers in Florida and New York. In 2008, she was a nominated finalist for The Pulitzer Prize. Lankes is an Amherst native and graduate of Sacred Heart Academy and Syracuse University. She started her journalism career writing for the News’ NeXt section.

@TiffanyLankes | tlankes@buffnews.com


Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan has been a cityside reporter for The Buffalo News since 2000 and currently covers the Buffalo Public Schools beat. She previously covered the Williamsville school district and was a full-time education reporter for five years prior to joining The News. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

@BNschoolzone | stan@buffnews.com


Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams began working for The Buffalo News in 1999 and currently covers Buffalo Public Schools. She formerly was a suburban reporter on the Northtowns beat and has been a cityside reporter covering communities since 2004. Williams has a mass communications degree from Towson University.

@DeidreWilliamsB | dswilliams@buffnews.com

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