In an exclusive Capital Tonight interview, NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi revealed he will soon ask his Board of Directors to bring an apparently unprecedented vote of no confidence on state Education Commissioner John King in response to what the union feels is a failure to respond to the growing concerns over the Common Core curriculum.

“The frustration level is overwhelming,” Iannuzzi said of his membership. “…The time has come. We have to address this now, and what we see is a state Ed Department that’s saying: Let’s see how much time we can buy, maybe this will go away.”

Iannuzzi could not recall such a vote beind taken before.

He said the NYSUT Board of Directors will meet within the next two weeks, and he feels confident they will approve his request. The resolution will then go before the union’s full representative assembly in April – assuming, Iannuzzi said, that if by that time its call for a three-year moratorium on using Common Core exam results for so-called “high-stakes decisions” on teacher evaluations has not been heeded.

King has so far rejected the union’s quest for a moratorium, saying it’s a “distraction” from the goal of using the Common Core to improve student performance.

Iannuzzi also bemoaned the lack of a mention about Common Core in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address yesterday, calling it a “missed opportunity.” He said waiting for the Board of Regents task force to complete its review of the implementation will take too long, noting still more tests will be administered during that time, heighting the worry over their long term impact among teachers and students alike.

The subcommittee formed by Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch to conduct this review is scheduled to report back “on a small timeline.”

In the meantime, it’s likely the Legislature will try to act on this issue. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said this week that a “case has been made” for the delay and implementation of the Common Core standards, but he also wants to wait to see what “remedial actions” the Board of Regents takes before moving forward with legislation.

The full interview with Iannuzzi, who was part of a panel on education policy in Cuomo’s State of the State address along with School Boards Association Executive Director Tim Kremer and state Council of School Superitendents Deputy Director Bob Lowry, will air at 8 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.

King is scheduled to appear on tomorrow’s Capital Tonight, and we will be sure to ask him for his response to Iannuzzi’s comments. In the meantime, SED spokesman Dennis Tompkins emailed the following response:

“The moratorium NYSUT wants would require a change in state law. But talk of a moratorium is a distraction. The focus should be on our students.”

“Every year, 140,000 high school students leave high school without the skills they need to succeed in college or a career. The evaluation system and the Common Core together will help our students succeed. NYSUT’s leadership should honor the commitments they’ve repeatedly made to both.”

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