Letter to the Editor published in Villager.
On 10 September, 2014 at the Killingly Board of Education (BOE) I made two requests of the BOE: 1) conduct an open public informational hearing on the adoption of Common Core in Killingly, and 2) that our local BOE take a vote or make public their vote for adoption of Common Core in Killingly (binding or not). Follow this link to see my request and the BOE response to my questions: http://boe2014.ondemand.killingly.org/
That night, the BOE agreed to conduct an open, informational public hearing on the implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and it is scheduled for 22 October, 2014 at the high school.
Information provided and discussed at this BOE public hearing applies to all school systems in the Quiet Corner, and parents and citizens from other school districts are encouraged to visit and learn as common core applies to everyone in Connecticut, even homeschoolers. Please attend, and learn about this transformational change to our American educational system.
For those not aware, the Common Core State Standards (Common Core or CCSS) are a set of Federal standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics (CCSS for science, history, civics, et al are in process). In 2010, 45 states and the District of Columbia adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) as a condition to either:
1) apply for, and acquire federal funding/grants under President Obama’s $4.4 billion Race to the Top (RTT) educational program (CT applied, but failed to obtain any RTT grant funding) or
2) obtain waivers from the punitive effects of President Bush’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) federal educational program (CT’s default reason to adopt).
Seemingly innocuous at the start, who doesn’t agree with standards and improving our children’s education, but predictably, as with other recent federally mandated programs, as more people understand Common Core, the less they like it. If you like your curriculum you can keep your curriculum is one of the mantras of proponents. Seven states have now opted out of federal CCSSs; another dozen are considering repeal or have opted out of the testing mandate.
In my view, Common Core is a de facto national/federal mandate that consists of three primary elements:
1) 100% adoption of the federally created standards that drive the federally funded tests that drive our theoretically locally controlled curriculum choices;
2) Administration of CCSS computer adaptive testing (CAT) from one of only two federally created test companies; a completely experimental and invalid assessment of our children and our teachers, and
3) Implementation of a P-20 data collection system of personal identifiable information (PII) to be shared across multiple state and federal agencies, third party “authorized representatives” and employers without parental or student consent
Both the AFT and NEA, the two largest teacher’s union in the country have blasted the implementation. 97% of CT teachers in a February 2014 CEA survey thought a one year moratorium was warranted. 87% of CT teachers say they are not being listened to and 68% say there is too much standardized testing. According to recent PDK/Gallup poll, 60% of American’s oppose the CCSS and 56% believe local school boards should have the greatest influence in deciding what is taught in public schools.
Proponents of CC argue that that the standards are needed to ensure our children are college and career ready, our children better prepared for STEM and competition in a 21st century global market, are rigorous, internationally benchmarked, evidenced based, are mobile/national, and will promote equity that will close the achievement gap between students.
Opponents of CC argue that the quality of education will be worse, our students less prepared for STEM and selective colleges; teacher evaluations are unfair; the privacy rights of students, parents, and family are and will be violated; SBAC testing is experimental, not mastery, standardized, valid or reliable; the P-20 WIN SLDS data collection is intrusive and in violation of our privacy rights; Common Core is creating more local town unfunded mandates with cost and funding unknown; the achievement gap will widen; and it is unconstitutional.
Personally, I subscribe to the theorem that is: whatever problem the federal government says it will solve or good it intends to achieve, there is a 100% probability the opposite will occur.
In my view, Common Core is the largest, systemic federal transformation of American public education in history. A clear attempt by our federal government to usurp local control of our educational system and our children. Parents need to understand, you do have rights and you can refuse to consent and “opt out” your child from the SBAC testing and the P-20 data collection imposed by Common Core.
Others believe a national, one size fits all educational standard for all children in all states that is centrally administered and controlled using compulsorily, experimental national tests and enhanced data collection is best.
Fellow citizens, I implore you, learn about Common Core, do your research and attend the BOE meeting on 22 October. Express your opinion, your thoughts, and your concerns.
As you consider the pros and cons, consider, the political and educational elites, and all those in position to gain a boat load of money by creating chaos in our educational system do not send their children to a public school.
For more information, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dale “Duffy” Dauphinais, Killingly