To make school choices for their children; to have a say in what and how their children learn.
Sonja Gaither, the author of the STOP COMMON CORE postcard campaign speaks!
I’m speaking today as a parent on behalf of both my husband and myself. I’m also representing over 80 parents from our group in Jesup, GA called Taking Back Our Schools. We are reminding Governor Deal that he was not elected to be an education Czar. By him acting as such, he is jeopardizing the educational quality and college readiness of over 1.7 million GA students. It seems fitting to refer to him from now as Ed Czar Deal. We believe he is no more competent in handling education policies than his handling of the snow storm last week. He and all his “appointees” continue to support Common Core despite a lack of research based evidence that it will even improve student performance and therefore they can’t be trusted to run our schools. Until valid independent studies are conducted to correlate the standards with student success then their claims of improved outcomes are merely fantasy. They embrace this newest centralized outcome based high stakes standardized testing regime, I say regime because it’s oppressive to both students and teachers, despite the serious warnings from early childhood professionals, Math and ELA experts, and parents. It is further proof of their willful ignorance and or arrogance.
That’s why we’re urging the Legislatures in both the House and Senate Education committees to support Senator Ligon’s Bill SB 203 and 167 to start the process of restoring local control back to our schools.
If CC Standards are so great then why weren’t they ever piloted? Why weren’t the authors eager to demonstrate specifically what educational gains might be achieved? Did they fear their claims may prove to be false? You can’t even buy a light bulb without it being certified to not be a fire hazard and inspected. Yet our children are being denied that same standard of precaution. Don’t forget that the healthcare exchange website wasn’t tested before it was launched either. How’d that work out? Theoretical claims such as “rigorous and robust” are as likely to be true as “If you like your health care plan you can keep it.” What if rigorous results in apathy for learning or loss of self esteem? Did you know that CC mandates an experimental geometry for 10th graders, which according to accomplished professional mathematician Ze ev Wurman, hasn’t been used successfully anywhere in the world? So much for international benchmarked. Keep in mind, parents are not allowed to opt their student out of this “newfangled” math since it is a graduation requirement.
It seems disingenuous that the CC developers and promoters willfully snuck CCS into our classrooms like a stealth plane flying under radar? Why bypass us and our local school boards and implement without our Legislatures consent? Is this the type of actions one would expect from honest people with pure motives? Finland’s Prime minister refers to educational reforms such as CC and No Child Left Behind as a GERM (Global Ed Reform Movement) which he says are “infecting” schools across the globe. He contends that Finland’s marked student success is a direct result of their educational system that has resisted GERMS by assuring local schools and teachers the authority to chose curriculum and write their own tests. They also do not test students on standards annually nor do they link student test scores to teacher assessments and salary.
On a personal level, I wish that Christians would stand up against Common Core like they defended Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson. For me, watching our kids be subjected to experimental education is like watching frogs in a pot over a bunson burner. The pot being the classroom, the frogs our children, and the burner equals the education reforms like CC which have never been proven to be beneficial to learning. Leaders like Ed Czar Deal are turning up the heat by continuing to put this stuff in our classrooms. The water temp keeps rising. I just want to shout to everyone, “Don’t wait! Unplug the burner now!” Don’t wait to see dead frogs before you start standing up against it! Don’t be like the people who ignored Noah before the flood. Common Core will cause our schools to fail. It’s already failing our kids right now even if you can’t see the heat!
Our GA general assembly can unplug the burner by passing a law to stop our Executive branch from applying for future federal grants but currently there aren’t enough 10th “amendmenters” in our GA Legislatures just like there aren’t enough Representatives and Senators supporting Senator Ligon’s bill would start the process of turning down the heat. The Supreme Court through precedence has upheld states 10th amendment right to run their schools absent of the feds. The feds are only getting away with it because GA is technically “volunteering” to comply when it takes the money. If the Feds were to have passed CC into law it wouldn’t stand up in court! They know that. That’s why they used the Governors to betray their states through grant funds just like Judas betrayed Jesus for silver coins. The ironic thing is that the GA only received $400,000,000 to adopt CC and its testing regime. Consider GA’s annual education budget of 13 billion (approx 8000/pupil). The grant is 3% of our annual budget. Do the Math! That’s a BAD DEAL!
In Summary: Like my husband says, If you want your child to be common and a “commoner,” do nothing. If you want better, then Stop Common Core and help us take back our schools!
Denty’s article In search of Diamonds left out facts concerning Common Core Standards (CCS) which warrant attention. Primarily, the CCS have never been piloted, just like the health care exchange website wasn’t tested before it was launched. Claims that they are “robust and relevant” are theoretical and as likely to be true as the promise “if you like your healthcare plan” you can keep it. These unpiloted standards turn classrooms into lab-rooms. Until significant data can be studied, which most researchers agree will take at least 3yrs, it’s unknown whether CCS will hurt or benefit GA student performance overall.
Other important facts:
- NGA approved CCS even though 5 of 29 of their validation committee (VC) members didn’t sign off on them. Dr. Stotsky (the only k-12 ELA standards expert on the VC-known for her contributions to the Massachusetts standards) and Dr. Milgram (only professional mathematician on the VC) were among those who declined signing. They have written various articles asserting that CCS reduces academic quality and puts American students at least 2yrs behind in math compared to international peers. In a co-authored paper titled Lowering the Bar: How CC Math Fails to Prepare High School Students for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) they said: “At this time we can conclude only that a gigantic fraud has been perpetrated on this country, in particular on parents in this country, by those developing, promoting, or endorsing CC’s standards.”
- Dr. Stotsky’s first recommendation in a report she conducted for Senator Ligon, comparing CC ELA standards to former GPS, was as follows: “Georgia should re-adopt its previous standards (with some revisions spelled out below) because they are far superior to Common Core’s … they stress the kind of reading (literary study) that fosters critical thinking, and they serve as far better guides … that secondary students in Georgia should be assigned in the school curriculum in order to be prepared for a meaningful high school diploma …”
-Over 400 childhood professionals signed a “Joint Statement of Early Childhood Health and Education Professionals …” in which they asked the NGA to “suspend” the standards for children in k-3 and to create a consortium of early childhood professionals to develop guidelines that “recognize the right of every child to a… developmentally appropriate education.” Their pleas were ignored. Why? The answer to that will lead to billionaires and bureaucrats who benefit from having made education a lucrative business. They would rather push their agenda than listen to valid concerns. They say they are for Student’s first but their policies put parents and local school boards last. It is this hypocrisy that is poisoning our schools because parents are essential for student success so to diminish their influence is not truly putting Students First.
by Sonja Gaither
Julie Mauck, a parent from Palm Beach County, Florida
Liza Jackson's Story
For a little background information on myself I submit the following. I grew up in a diverse and urban district as in orphan in a very poor and unsupportive foster home in Springfield, MA. I aged out of the system at 18 and was completely on my own. I attempted college but failed miserably at that time due to lack of life skills and support. I eventually found my way into being able to maintain a job and apartment and began working in the child care field. I loved it and have been doing it pretty much ever since. I started my own home child care business in 2006 which has become very successful and I earned a technical certificate in child development 2010. I plan to continue my education in child psychology in the very near future. Because of all this, I have a unique opportunity to relate to and understand the needs of our very diverse and largely low income population in Clarke County and even nationwide. I am also an active member of my community. Last year I volunteered for the Food2Kids program as a donations pickup person. This is a program that hits home for me as school lunch was often the only real meals I ate during the school year growing up. I have mentored three children that are not my own. Two of them are now young adults who have aged out of foster care with little to no family to support them. I am so proud of them! They both work almost fulltime and are attending college. One of them will graduate with a degree in social work this December! The third is a troubled child who lives in a single parent home with five younger siblings and is currently still in high school. I am working hard to encourage her to stay in school and be the example that her younger siblings will follow. I’m glad to say that she is making great strides towards accomplishing her goals. I and another mom help run the service component of my sons’ church youth group. Our youth group service projects include things like an annual free clothing closet, bus pass fundraiser, and meal for the most needy in our community on Thanksgiving Day, monthly trips to serve at Our Daily Bread (a local soup kitchen), projects for our elderly, yearly mission trips, volunteering at the food bank, and I even ran/walked a 5k (never again, lol) for Action Ministries one year. My husband grew up in a single parent home and was a high school dropout who earned his GED. We found out about five years ago that he has Asperger’s Syndrome. He is a military veteran who served four years in the USAF and he is working towards a degree in physical therapy. We have been married for 19 years. In spite of our backgrounds we overcame the odds and shattered the statistics of where we should have ended up…we are pursuing the American Dream.
I have three children enrolled in CCSD. My two sons attend CCHS and my daughter attends TRES. Both of my boys have been in the gifted program since kindergarten and my daughter is an honor roll student. My oldest is currently dual enrolled with Athens Tech through the ACCA. We have been in CCSD since 2002. Although I work fulltime I do try to play a very active role in my children’s education by attending, watching, or participating in such things as board meetings, budget hearings, sports booster clubs, parent/teacher conferences, open houses, special parent information meetings, PTO meetings and events, email communications with school board/administrators/and teachers, and I am consistently educating myself on current events that affect public education. Allow me to share with you on a personal level how the implementation of CCSS has affected our family. As parents we were completely blindsided by common core. There was no warning, not attempt by the school board or administration to try and inform us of the scope of implementation and what it would mean for our children. My oldest has not really been affected specifically by CCSS as he was already dual enrolled for his core classes when implementation began occurring last year, although he has been affected by previous changes and reforms. He has written his own letter detailing his experience in public school over the past 11 years which is available upon request. My middle son was thrust into CCSS in his first year of high school. Along with the pressure of a new environment he now had to deal with all new standards as well. He managed to squeak out a C in math his freshman year but not without damaging his self-esteem. Looking back, because I did not know about CCSS, I feel so saddened to know that I was not as sympathetic as I should have been because I believed his teacher when she told me he just needed to work harder and wasn’t applying himself. He was a child who never really liked math but never had an issue with it. He went from an honor roll student to now having to worry about his HOPE scholarship being compromised with a C damaging his GPA. He now must get all A’s for the remaining 3 years to get his GPA high enough to receive HOPE in full. While I do not pressure him into choosing the college path, he himself desires very much to go to a 4 year university so this is very troubling and stressful to him. This year as a sophomore the year began much the same. After just a few weeks he had a 69 in math. When I contacted the math teacher I was told he had 2 choices. He could move from ADV to on-level math where he would not get the same level of support because the advanced class has 3 teachers (2 student teachers) and the on-level math class has only 1…or he could attend remediation every morning or three afternoons a week which would require him to give up his extra-curricular activities. He chose the on-level class and is doing much better there thankfully. Now you would think that my older son who is just 1 year ahead could help him, but he looks at the homework and says “I have no idea what the heck they are doing”. How can that be? There is no text book for the CCSS math so they use a variety of resources to build assignments. I can only imagine how time consuming and frustrating this must be for teachers and it makes it impossible as a parent to help. That brings me to my daughter who experienced much the same when she got the new standards as a 4th grader. She dropped 30-50 points on the CRCT and just barely passed the math portion. Now here is my conundrum with her….the tests have not changed in GA yet. So, if the standards are supposed to be better or harder and the test is still testing the older, supposedly easier standards, wouldn’t she have done better? Anyway, her math homework is ridiculous. I cannot for the life of me figure out what they are trying to do and again, there are NO text books or resources for parents to try and help. She as well has suffered a great loss in her confidence to do math. There have been many tears shed. I have tried communicating with the teachers who simply direct me to the district. When I address my district I either get no response at all or a scripted response with a bunch of websites for me to “retrain” myself so I can help my kids do their homework. Teachers in GA have no voice. There are no unions and they fear for their jobs if they speak out.
I am a huge proponent of public education and CCSD. Any time I advocate for or against a policy it is solely because I want what is best for our children and teachers. I think we have some of the best educators around and I am fighting for our teachers to be allowed the freedom and tools to do their job. I am fighting to regain the superior GPS so our children who want to learn can once again feel confident in their abilities and not stress about fitting into a common box. The only way to do that is to remove ourselves from federal involvement and mandates and demand local autonomy over education.
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