John King, Reformer

New York needs vigilant eyes on its school reform efforts, not just when they’re announced but over time when Albany interests can resist and co-opt. The New York Post editorial board fills this watchdog role with relish (and we’ve had occasion to be thankful for it), but today it bit too hard.

While rightfully worrying about reform’s prospects after Commissioner David Steiner’s resignation, the Post predicts the appointment of: “Senior Deputy Commissioner John King — a pillar of the department who is believed to have [Chancellor Merryl] Tisch’s support. (That would be good for him, but not so good for reform.)”

This is off the mark. As pundit Andy Rotherham and others have observed, King is actually a school reformer’s best choice for the role. After building some of the nation’s best charter schools, he’s been Steiner’s co-pilot during a series of positive (though incomplete) shifts in state education policy.

Last summer King was inducted into the national Charter School Hall of Fame by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Check out the Alliance’s video:

To be sure, the charter sector would have its disagreements with a Commissioner King and we won’t hesitate to air them. But let’s not make the perfect (which in this post will never exist) the enemy of not just the good, but of one great and visionary educator and reformer.