The Increasing Destruction of Parental & Free Speech Rights Under Common Core

Karen R. Effrem, MD
There are two more new and very disturbing incidents in the tyrannical destruction of parental and free speech rights as the supposedly oh so "voluntary", "state-led", "transparent", and "constitutional" Common Core system of national standards, tests, and data collection continues to be imposed on Florida and the nation.
  
In New York, a state PTA official stated in a speech that parents who opt their children out of the Common Core aligned assessments should be reported to child protective services for "educational neglect."
 
 

In South Carolina, parents that received a permit to participate in a local Christmas parade and were planning to carry signs about the problems with Common Core were banned from carrying signs and their participation was threatened by the police and parade organizers.

This is on the heels of a Maryland parent being arrested during a school board meeting while trying to speak out about Common Core and parents in Indian River County here in Florida being threatened with arrest for passing out anti-Common Core material at a school meeting.  There have also been increasing attacks on homeschooling families here in Florida and across the nation.  There is more information on this in Chapter 4 of our policy analysis.

It appears that our children are becoming "mere creatures of the state" despite the famous 1925 Supreme Court case  reaffirming parents as the primary educators of their children.  Are we going to "sit there like cattle" as Mr. Small, that Maryland father, warned, or are we going to stand up and protect our children and our rights as parents? Our children's and our nation's future is hanging in the balance.  It is up to us.

Florida Take Heed - Wisconsin Wants to Let Local Districts Decide About Common Core

What a novel concept!  The Wisconsin Legislature just released a summary report on Common Core that actually speaks of letting duly elected local school boards make the decision whether to adopt Common Core standards and tests.  According to a post by Shane Vander Hart of Truth in American Education, Rep. Dean Knudson (R-Hudson) was quoted in the report as saying:


The state needs to do a better job of communicating with local school districts about their rights and obligations.  He said that local school boards are not obligated to adopt the CCSS and that decisions for curriculum must remain at the local level.  He also stated that decisions regarding the content of standards and testing must be made without federal interference.

Wouldn't it be nice if the state of Florida allowed their elected school officials to make this crucial decision at the local level instead of the appointed bureaucrats in Tallahassee?

Follow-up on Secret CCSSO Meeting - Unaccountable and Tells Teachers How to Teach

Allison Neilsen of Sunshine State News did another great piece of investigative journalism on the secret meeting of the Council of Chief State School Officers in Orlando that we reported on December 2nd.  In her usual thorough and balanced fashion, her article, called  Closed-Door CCSSO Common Core Meeting Sparks Backlash, brought to light two very enormous contradictions in the rhetoric of Common Core proponents.

The first is the one that we pointed out in our recent post that Ms. Neilsen kindly quoted, namely that despite the suggestion by the Bush Foundation for Excellence in Education that "Parents can certainly influence these organizations by influencing their Governor or Department of Education chief," these standards are being imposed by federally funded, private, and unaccountable groups:

What are these people smoking? They were really proud that they got 2,000 parent  comments on standards that are affecting over one hundred million school children with only less than one quarter of one percent of those being published.  With that kind of parental involvement, how can citizens expect to influence mostly appointed officials and their minions that meet behind closed doors?  If these awful standards and their top-down implementation did not so seriously affect our children and our nation's future, this rhetoric would be comical.
 
The other contradiction is the idea that teachers and districts have such amazing flexibility in how they teach the Common Core national standards.  Common Core proponent, Colonel Tony Buntyn, said in a recent column:

"Finally, the standards just set guidelines -- not hard and fast rules. Across our state, local officials and teachers have been given flexibility to develop curricula and teach their students in ways that work for them."
 
Yet, this whole meeting, titled Supporting Principal Effectiveness in Leading Teacher Evaluation and Supports and Common Core Implementation, was about showing school principals how to hold teachers accountable for teaching them.   The meeting agenda obtained by Ms. Neilsen contained a number of sessions that hardly gave the idea of flexibility and independence.  One of the session descriptions contained the following statement:

"...Student Achievement Partners will discuss the instructional shifts required in Common Core, focusing on what the shifts mean for school leaders, how the role of the Principal has changed as a result of these shifts, how principals can successfully communicate these shifts, and how important it is for everyone to have a deep understanding of the instructional shifts." (Emphasis added).
 
"Required instructional shifts" indicate that this is top-down implementation.  This is confirmed by teacher interviewed for this Fox News Story who said that they are forced to teach to scripts or to teach the standards "word for word" losing all their creativity in the process.  
 
Don't believe the fluffy propaganda about Common Core.  The truth - secret meetings, no public accountability, forcing teachers to teach scripted curriculum shows why, for the sake of our children and our future, Common Core must be abandoned immediately.

Commissioner Stewart Officially Drops PARCC Field Tests

According to a memo from Commissioner Pam Stewart released right before Thanksgiving, Florida will not be participating in the field testing for the Common Core aligned Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test this spring.

This is the first real indication that the state may actually leave the PARCC consortium and do its own test.  Until now, the only thing that has happened is that Florida has handed over its fiscal agent (money manager) responsibilities.  Florida is still part of the PARCC consortium and the test is still being considered.  The statement from the commissioner is somewhat encouraging:


"Florida's choice of a statewide assessment will meet the state requirements regarding accessibility to assessments, instructional alignment and school district readiness to administer the assessments. Since there will not be an opportunity to field test all options prior to making a decision, it is best that we not field test one assessment within the state and not the others."
 
What will happen next remains to be seen.  The test chosen must align to the standards, which are under review.  Stewart is reported to have claimed that there is enough flexibility in Common Core to allow add math standards that will qualify students to major in engineering and other hi-tech careers, which, as admitted by principal math architect Jason Zimba, is currently not the case.  However Stewart and  Race to the Top coordinator  Holly Edenfield, along with deputy K-12 chancellor Mary Jane Tappen have all said they don't expect the standards to change very much.   Even if they actually do change the standards enough to deal with the math issues, the incoherent literature curriculum, and the developmentally inappropriate and psychologically manipulative standards, there will be a problem with state autonomy and flexibility because of the copyright issues and the national tests are all still aligned to Common Core.  It is therefore imperative that Florida makes our standards and tests right for Florida students and not be shackled to the federal government, federally funded private groups, and corporate and foundation interests.

"State-Led" CCSSO Meets to Discuss Common Core Behind Closed Doors

The Council Of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), one of the major developers and one of the two copyright holders of the Common Core standards is holding a meeting in Orlando this week:

DECEMBER 2013 
Dec 3-4 Supporting Principal Effectiveness in Leading Teacher Evaluation and Supports and Common Core Implementation
Orlando, FL Shannon Glynn 202-326-8694 shannon.glynn@ccsso.org

The introductory paragraph on the meetings page actually contains this very unfreindly, "untransparent" sentence letting the parents, taxpayers and elected policy makers of forty-five states know exactly where they stand in the implementation of Common Core:

CCSSO meetings are closed to the public and attendance is by invitation only unless otherwise denoted. (Emphasis in original).

Wait! Hold on! Aren't we benighted opponents of Common Core constantly told by our enlightened masters like former Governor Jeb Bush's Foundation for Excellence in Education (FEE) and Chester Finn's Thomas B. Fordham Foundation that the deliberations on Common Core were and are "state-led," "voluntary," and "transparent"?  In fact, one of their innumerable "Myths vs. Facts" documents says:

Both the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) are made up of state leaders state governors and the education chiefs to be exact, who are accountable to their constituents.   They meet together to learn best practices, discuss lessons learned, share information and research and collaborate.  Parents can certainly influence these organizations by influencing their Governor or Department of Education chief.

What are these people smoking? They were really proud that they got 2,000 parent comments on standards that are affecting over one hundred million school children with only less than one quarter of one percent of those being published.  With that kind of parental involvment, how can citizens expect to influence mostly appointed officials and their minions that meet behind closed doors?  If these awful standards and their top-down implementation did not so seriously affect our children and our nation's future, this rhetoric would be comical. Here is yet another reason to continue vigorously opposing Common Core.  

[Hat-tip to Caroline Rouston and Andrew Nappi for this information!]

Updated 12/2/13 to reflect addition of the word "parent" before "comments" and links in final paragraph.


 

 
 
 

 

Keep in Touch

Subscribe