Gotham Schools: King, the deputy state education commissioner, replaces David Steiner, who announced he was planning to leave at the end of the academic year in April. The announcement was a surprise, but concerns that Steiner might leave the state in the lurch were tampered by the expectation that King, his close partner, would likely succeed Steiner as commissioner....From a 2010 interview with Capitol Confidential:
King previously served as a managing director at Uncommon Schools, a network of charter schools, and founded the high-performing Roxbury Preparatory Charter School in Boston. He is widely respected inside the community of education activists who support charter schools, but he has a calmer style than hard-charging reformers like Joel Klein, the former city schools chancellor.
What are your top priorities in dealing with prekindergarten-to-12th grade schools?
One of the things we want to improve is our assessment system. One of things we’re doing this spring is making the state math exams less predictable. Historically, this test looked at a narrow band of indicators. This year we are increasing the number of performance indicators that are assessed. Then in the spring of 2011 we’ll actually make the assessments longer, so we get a more comprehensive picture of student performance.
Also this spring, we’re adding an audit function of the exams to compare the assessment of New York students with students in other places to make sure our standards for performance are rigorous enough.
What’s involved in starting and maintaining a high-performing school?
Rigorous curriculum. Excellent teachers. A longer school day and a longer school year. A real focus on data, in which teachers are constantly looking at how students are doing. And a real focus on professional development.