This article appeared in the Charlotte Sun on July 6th 2013
There are revolutionary changes coming to a classroom near you, Common Core State Standards. Some endorses are Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, U. S. Chamber of Commerce, The United States Army, National PTA, and the U. S. Department of Education. The Gates have poured millions into CCSS a software driven program. Textbook publishers are behind Common Core due to the huge new income potential.. A receipient of Gates money Jeb Bush's Foundation for Excellence in Education. GE Foundation, Blooomberg Phanthropies, and the Walton Family Foundation are contributors. It's motto is, "To build an American education system that equips every child to achieve his or her God-Given potential. Jeb and Michelle Rhee, former Chancellor, District of Columbia schools, were recently in Michigan lobbying for the implementation of Common Core curriculum and testing. Michelle was paid $50,000 and expenses for her appearance.
Forty-five states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity have adopted the Common Core State Standards. Why is this important to Charlotte County? Because Florida is one of the Forty-five states has voted to implement CCSS. Common Cores Mission Statement is: "The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy".
On 6-20 Jill Stine of The Common Core Institute made a three hour presentation to the local school board and the Superintendent Dr. Doug Whittaker. Dr. Whittaker: "The school board requested a training session with everyone there so they all heard the same information and had an opportunity to ask clarifying questions. When information is simply read, it is too easy to layer personal opinion in with the intended message of the original writer. Additionally, there is no opportunity to ask for clarification or further elaboration if part of the message is not clear or easily understood." Visit the school's web site, www.yourcharlotteschools.net to view numerous links to Common Core to see items such as Leadership, Teachers, Parents, CCSS In The Classroom, and Teaching Videos. The following questions were asked of Dr. Whittaker. 1) What is the current status of Common Core within the district? "We are required by Florida Statute to begin teaching the full Common Core this August." 2) Why wasn't the group opposed to Common Core SS given an opportunity to make a presentation? "My reply is simple. If the board was wrestling with whether or not to implement the common core, there would have been time and opportunity made for a debate/discussion around the issue. As it is, we were required to implement the math and language arts Common Core in grades K through 3 this past year and grades K through 12 this coming year. To debate the merits of common core or any options about implementation would have misled the public into thinking that their input would have some bearing on the implementation. As it is, implementation is required by law and the School Board and I swore in a public oath that we would support, protect and defend the Constitution and Government of the United States and the State of Florida. Included in this pledge is the expectation and understanding that we will obey the laws passed by the government of Florida".
One of the two main areas initially to be addressed in CCSS will be reading. Non fiction reading will be the key to enable students to have the ability to read for example complex technical manuals. According to CCSS the current method of teaching reading is inadequate. Computer will be used for testing. Test results and school evaluations will be made available to other interested parties aside from school and parents use.
This is part one of a two part series on Common Core State Standards. Part two will deal with the opposition to CCSS.